The Federal Reserve Board gave First Union Corp. permission Tuesday to acquire Signet Banking Corp.

To gain approval, $137 billion-asset First Union, Charlotte, N.C., agreed to divest four Signet branches in Virginia.

The Fed rejected requests by community activists for more divestitures, saying First Union would not dominate any of the 13 markets where it previously competed with Signet. Also, the Fed said the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., markets are attractive to outside competitors.

The Fed also dismissed several Community Reinvestment Act protests, noting that First Union's lead bank received an outstanding rating in its most recent exam.

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