Chemical Banking Corp. has agreed to buy the deposits of four large branches from Anchor Savings Bank, a bank spokesman confirmed.

The agreement, subject to regulatory approval, comes as Chemical is preparing to eliminate some 70 New York City branches after it completes its merger with Manufacturers Hanover Corp.

The new branches include a large Manhattan unit located near the United Nations and three branches in affluent north shore communities in suburban Long Island.

In recent weeks, Chemical has pledged $750 million in low-income housing loans over five years in response to community activists and New York City officials who were threatening to block the Hanover merger.

The bank company also said it would keep open 77 of 91 branches in poor and moderate-income neighborhoods.

A well-placed source said the branches are located in areas where Chemical is not now represented.

The source added that the planned purchase is consistent with the bank's strategy to expand its retail network.

Other Branch Purchases

Chemical, which will be the nation's third largest bank after the merger, acquired 17 branches of failed banks and thrifts in New York City earlier this year from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Resolution Trust Corp. Many of them were located in poor neighborhoods.

Anchor is a profitable but capital-hungry thrift based on New York's Long Island.

It earned $17.1 million in the third quarter and edged into compliance with capital regulations, after years of struggling to meet the standards.

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