The Federal Reserve Board granted approval late Thursday for the lead Georgia bank of Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc. to merge with the company's 26 other subsidiary banks, including Crestar Bank, in five states.

The consolidation may take place after Dec. 15. It will affect Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia, which all allow for interstate mergers. As of Sept. 30, $92.8 billion-asset SunTrust was the ninth-largest banking company in the country.

Separately, the Fed also gave permission for Austria's largest bank, Bank Austria Aktiengesellschaft, to open a branch in Greenwich, Conn., and representative offices in Atlanta and San Francisco. The bank has $130 billion of assets. -- Katharine Fraser

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