Mortgage lending compliance officers may have an extremely tough act to follow now that the Federal Reserve Board has given Shawmut National Corp. the go-ahead for its acquisition program, primarily because of the way the $27.4 billion superregional institution has cleared the regulatory hurdles in this case.

The Fed said April 28 that Shawmut could proceed with its acquisition of New Dartmouth Bank, even though the latter institution received a "needs to improve" rating in its latest CRA review. In a 24-page order, the Fed explained why it viewed Shawmut in a different light than it did on Nov. 15, when it considered - but did not approve - the merger request.

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