The Federal Reserve Board on Monday gave First Union Corp. permission to acquire CoreStates Financial Corp.

Approval of the $16.6 billion deal was conditioned upon First Union selling 23 branches in Philadelphia and seven in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley.

The deal is expected to close by April 30. On Friday the Justice Department cleared the deal after First Union agreed to divest 32 branches with $1.1 billion of deposits. Of those branches, 14 were in Philadelphia. The Fed rejected scores of Community Reinvestment Act protests, noting that both banks have strong community development records. It also rejected antitrust complaints, citing the Justice Department's approval. - Jaret Seiberg

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