For more proof that tough times are prompting regulators to get creative, look no further than the Federal Reserve Board's approval of Wells Fargo & Co.'s deal for Wachovia Corp.

The central bank, looking at June 30 data, conceded that Wells would hold 10.12% of the nation's deposits after buying Wachovia. But the Fed argued that the purchase would not violate the federal law barring any company from controlling more than 10% of the nation's deposits, because industry deposits have swelled as investors have fled money market funds.

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