WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Board last week rejected Totalbank Corp.'s bid to acquire Florida International Bank, citing the applicant's poor Community Reinvestment Act record.

The Fed said the $171 million-asset holding company's two Miami banks both received "needs to improve" CRA ratings during their latest exams.

The company's Totalbank subsidiary, last reviewed in August, had poor loan distribution, made an insufficient number of loans within its delineated community, and took inadequate steps to assess the credit needs of the area, the Fed said.

Its Trade Bank subsidiary, examined last March, has not developed a CRA program, and does not participate in any government-sponsored community development programs, the Fed said.

"Totalbank and Trade Bank do not have satisfactory records of performance in place, and ... efforts to address weaknesses in their performance have not been fully implemented," the Fed said in rejecting the application on July 12.

The Fed also said Totalbank Corp. violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, and the Fair Housing Act.

Totalbank Corp. president William Heffernan did not return a call for comment. But CRA supporters praised the decision.

"This is monumental whenever you see the Fed saying 'denied,'" said Kenneth Thomas, a Miami-based CRA expert. "It is good to see that the Fed has finally decided to look south, because we have lots of problems with banks. I look at this very positively."

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