Western Liberty Bancorp is one step closer to becoming one of the only blank-check companies to break into banking.

The special-purpose acquisition company Monday announced that the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Nevada Financial Institutions Division have all approved its plan to acquire the $45 million-asset Service1st Bank of Nevada in Las Vegas.

The acquisition is now expected to close in the second half of October, after a required 15-day waiting period.

Western Liberty plans to infuse $25 million into Service1st. The blank-check company has about $85 million of capital to spend.

Despite interest in the banking sector, few blank-check companies have succeeded in e+ntering the industry.

Community Bankers Acquisition Corp.'s takeover of two Virginia banks in 2008 is believed to be the only foray into banking by a blank-check company so far.

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