The Federal Reserve Board is making it easier for banks to acquire rivals, even if the union would hurt competition.

Stephen A. Rhoades, the Fed's associate director for research and statistics, told an American Bar Association committee on Wednesday that the central bank would stop challenging deals that result in Herfindahl Hirschman Index scores of 2,200 or less. It also will not scrutinize deals where the HHI rises by less than 250 points.

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