WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday approved Westamerica Bancorp's seventh acquisition in the last eight years.

The San Rafael, Calif., banking company, which has $4 billion of assets, plans to take over the $90.7 million-asset First Counties Bank of Clearlake, Calif., this month. Westamerica, the 17th-largest banking organization in California, operates in 23 northern and central California counties and competes for local business primarily with Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Calling the acquisition "business as usual to fill in our footprint in northern and central California," Westamerica vice president and treasurer Joe Bowler said the holding company will operate First Counties Bank under the Westamerica Bank name.

He said Westamerica, which opened two new branches this year, does not have other acquisitions in the works.

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