The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Federal Reserve Board order approving Banc One Corp.'s acquisition of First USA Inc.

Three community groups, led by Bronx, N.Y.-based Inner City Press/Community on the Move, had challenged the May 1997 order on Community Reinvestment Act grounds.

But a federal appeals court ruled in December that the groups lacked standing to sue, which means they did not have a legal right to challenge the merger because they were not directly hurt by the deal.

The groups, which also included the Black Citizens for Justice, Law and Order and the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, appealed to the Supreme Court, which turned down the case without comment.

Matthew Lee, executive director of Inner City Press, vowed to continue challenging bank mergers in court. "We will get another run at it with a different record," Mr. Lee said. "This is an ongoing campaign. It is not the end of it."

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