Headquartered in Chicago, First Colonial Bankshares Corp., with $1.6 billion of assets, was about to acquire two small suburban Chicago banks - Hi-Bancorp, with $87 million of assets, and GNP Bancorp, with $75 million of assets.

The deal was signed and the blessings were counted. But on May 19 the Federal Reserve Board, in a 7-to-0 vote, rejected First Colonial's application.

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