The Federal Reserve is giving the public more time to comment on Huntington Bancshares' agreement to buy FirstMerit in Akron, Ohio.

The Fed said Friday that it has extended the deadline to May 16 for submitting comments. The previous deadline was April 15.

"The comment period is being extended to allow interested persons more time to review and provide comments concerning the proposal," the Fed said in a news release.

The $73 billion-asset Huntington, in Columbus, Ohio, announced in January that it was buying the $25 billion-asset FirstMerit for $3.4 billion. The deal is scheduled to close in the third quarter.

Since the deal was announced, the two companies have made a number of strategic moves involving community development and branch closures and sales.

Huntington teamed up with the owner of the Detroit Pistons to provide $25 million for assistance to citizens of Flint, Mich., affected by water problems. Huntington also said that it plans to close more than 100 branches after the FirstMerit deal closes, in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. FirstMerit also plans to sell four branches in Wisconsin to Peoples Bancorp in Prairie Du Chien, Wis.

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