Barnett Banks Inc. is often cited as a potential target of NationsBank Corp., which is anxious to expand its presence in Florida. Now a recent decision by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta may have eased a possible obstacle.

In its review of Barnett's proposed merger with Tampa-based First Florida Banks Inc., the Atlanta Fed has broadened its definition of the Tampa Bay banking market to four counties from one county. The action is expected to lessen antitrust problems for Jacksonville-based Barnett by diluting its concentration in the region.

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