Fleet's Plan to Sell 6 Maine Branches Interests KeyCorp, Peoples Heritage

KeyCorp and Peoples Heritage Financial Group Inc. expressed interest Monday in acquiring six branches in Maine that Fleet/Norstar Financial Group Inc. is divesting to address antitrust concerns.

Under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Fleet will sell four branches in the Bangor area with a total of $58 million in deposits, one in Pittsfield with $19 million in deposits, and one in Presque Isle with $8 million in deposits.

"We're interested in at least taking a look at packages when they're defined," said a spokesman at Albany, N.Y.-based KeyCorp. Peoples Heritage of Portland, Maine, also confirmed it is interested. Marco DeSalle, a Maine investor whose bid for the Maine unit of Bank of New England was rejected, did not return phone calls.

Fleet, which is the largest financial institution in Maine, called the sale voluntary. The divestiture is intended to allay concerns expressed by some members of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington.

Close Vote at Fed

Three Fed governors voted July 1 to approve Fleet's acquisition of the failed Bank of New England franchise from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., while two dissented, contending that Fleet might overpower its competitors in Maine.

The deal, scheduled to close in late July, includes 40 branches in Maine. Four of the six branches put up for sale are part of this acquisition.

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