Fleet Financial Group and BankBoston Corp. have told the Federal Reserve they would divest 22 more branches but less in deposits and assets than previously announced.

In a merger application filed Monday the banking companies said they would sell 292 branches in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, with $12.5 billion of deposits. They also said they would sell $2.2 billion of middle-market commercial and small-business loans.

In March, when the deal was announced, the banks estimated they would sell about 270 branches, $13 billion of deposits, and $5 billion in loans.

A Fleet spokesman said the newer numbers came from revised data.

The planned divestitures reflect the banks' belief that regulators would be concerned about the antitrust implications of the $16 billion merger.

Community groups said they were poised to file comments protesting the combination, which they claim would kill competition in New England.

"This leaves New England with one major bank," said Matthew Lee, executive director of Inner City Press/Community on the Move, a community activist group in New York. "They are going to have to divest far more than they have said."

Fleet contends in its merger application that the divestitures would create more competition by boosting the size of regional banks that buy the deposits and assets.

Bidding for the branches and related deposits and assets is set to begin at the end of the month, investment bankers said, and many banks in New England and outside the region have expressed interest.

In the Fed application, Fleet said it would present bidders with three packages-one that would combine its divestitures in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, one for northern and central Connecticut, and one for Rhode Island. The bank said bidders could buy one or more of the packages.

Fleet also said it would consider splitting off individual branches from the packages for sale to smaller regional banks, a nod to Massachusetts politicians who have agitated against block sales to out-of-state banks.

"We would entertain bids from any size institution for any number of branches," the Fleet spokesman said.

The Massachusetts and New Hampshire package is the biggest, with 209 branches, $8.7 billion of deposits, $1.8 billion in loans, and 415 automated teller machines.

Fleet and BankBoston said they had no plans to divest in Maine, Florida, southern Connecticut, or parts of western Massachusetts.

The banks said they would not sell certain commercial loans, including those to the high-tech industry.

Once the Fed opens the comment period on the application-which could be as early as next week-community groups have 30 days to voice their positions. Mr. Lee from Inner City Press said consumer advocacy groups were looking for the Fed to schedule public meetings on the merger in the summer.

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