The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday gave Union Planters Corp. permission to acquire Eastern National Bank of Miami, Fla., overriding objections from community groups and the Venezuelan Superintendent of Banks.
The Mid-South Peace and Justice Center had urged the Fed to reject the deal on Community Reinvestment Act grounds. But the Fed said both banks operate numerous loan programs that serve low-income and minority communities. Also, the Fed said all of Union Planter's banks and thrifts have either "outstanding" or "satisfactory" CRA grades.
Venezuelan authorities asked the Fed to delay action on the deal until Eastern National resolves a conflict over who owns some of its stock. The Fed rejected the request, saying it lacks the authority to decide stock ownership disputes. It also noted that Venezuelan officials have not brought the dispute to court. - Olaf de Senerpont Domis and Jaret Seiberg