NationsBank Corp. won Federal Reserve Board approval Monday to acquire Boatmen's Bancshares.
Shareholders are expected to vote on the $9.6 billion deal Friday.
Once the merger is completed, NationsBank will hold $233 billion in assets and serve 13 million customers from 2,600 branches and 5,000 ATMs in 16 states. NationsBank, based in Charlotte, N.C., will operate for the first time in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
The deal, at 2.6 times book value and 15 times Boatmen's anticipated earnings, was criticized as too costly and initially pushed NationsBank's stock price down.
Activists had protested the deal on Community Reinvestment Act grounds, charging that NationsBank steers minorities toward high-cost loans at its finance company subsidiary. The Fed rejected these complaints but is requiring NationsBank to notify the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond before closing any branch during the next two years.