The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday narrowly approved a bid by BB&T Corp., Winston-Salem, N.C., to acquire United Carolina Bancshares, Whiteville, N.C.

The merger, approved 3 to 2, would make BB&T the largest banking company in the Tarheel State, controlling nearly 19% of the deposits there, the Fed order said.

Fed Governors Alice M. Rivlin and Laurence H. Meyer voted against the approval. According to the Fed order, the two governors said the transaction would hurt competition in at least three North Carolina banking markets.

"The failure to reject the merger or to make the merger conditional on further divestitures in this market in our view ... allows a level of concentration and market share that is too high to warrant board approval," the two governors wrote.

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