The Federal Reserve Board on Monday scheduled a public hearing for July 7 on Fleet Financial Group Inc.'s acquisition of BankBoston Corp.

To be held in Boston, the hearing will examine both banks' performance under the Community Reinvestment Act as well as the merger's impact on market competition.

"The proposal involves the merger of the two largest banking organizations in New England and will involve sizable divestitures throughout the region," the Fed said.

Fleet agreed to buy BankBoston on March 15, 1999, for $16 billion.

If approved, the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

The combined bank, to be called Fleet Boston Corp., would be the nation's eighth-largest, with assets of $180 billion and 20 million customers.

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