WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Board has raised a procedural red flag that could further complicate FleetBoston Financial Corp.'s plan to join forces with North Fork Bancorp to acquire Dime Bancorp.

North Fork, which is headquartered in Melville, N.Y., has been aggressively pursuing a $1.9 billion hostile bid for the New York City thrift in recent months. In March, North Fork teamed up with FleetBoston, which agreed to provide financial backing for North Fork's offer in return for the chance to buy up North Fork shares as well as branches and deposits in the New York region if North Fork succeeds in buying Dime. The plan also had the effect of blocking a potential bid by Fleet to acquire Dime.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.