Mayor Michael R. White disputed a report Friday that he has taken a position on a potential merger between National City Corp. and KeyCorp.

"For the record, I have not taken a position-personally or publicly-for or against this merger," Mr. White said in a statement.

Talk of a deal sent shares of KeyCorp up last week. As of late afternoon Friday, no agreement had been announced, and both companies declined to comment. Shares of KeyCorp closed Friday at $35.875, off $1.0625, and National City finished at $69.325, off $2.8125.

American Banker reported Friday that Mr. White may favor a merger of the two companies rather than see them go to out-of-state buyers. The report was based on comments from two sources familiar with the mayor and his relationship with the business community in Cleveland.

The mayor's statement said he is monitoring the potential deal. "Just like many other stakeholders in this community and the banking community, I am closely following the developments involving the potential sale or merger of KeyBank. However, I have not made a decision yet on whether an out-of-town or in-market merger would be best for this city," he said.

Analysts have identified other potential buyers of KeyCorp, including U.S. Bancorp of Minneapolis and First Union Corp. of Charlotte, N.C.

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