The Federal Reserve Board gave Norwest Corp. permission Thursday to acquire Union Texas Bancorp and its Union National Bank of Texas subsidiary.

Minnesota ACORN Fair Housing had protested the merger on Community Reinvestment Act grounds, charging that neither bank meets the credit needs of low-income, minority people.

But the Fed rejected the protests. It noted that the subsidiary banks owned by each company had gotten either "outstanding" or "satisfactory" CRA grades on their most recent exams. Also, it said, Norwest operates several low-income loan programs.

Separately, First Commerce Corp. of New Orleans got permission from the Fed Wednesday to acquire a limited partnership interest in an economic development firm. First Commerce will invest in 150 Baronne Street Limited Partnership, which is turning an abandoned building in New Orleans into a hotel.

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