MILWAUKEE - Firstar Corp. said Thursday it has received approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to acquire 41 branches in Tennessee from First Union Corp. of Charlotte, N.C.

The 41 First Union branches have approximately $1.7 billion in deposits and $474 million in loans.

The deal would make Firstar the fourth-largest bank in deposits in the Nashville market and the second-largest in the Clarksville-Hopkinsville market. Firstar, with $74 billion of assets, said it would have 61 full-service locations in Tennessee and be the seventh-largest bank in the state.

Firstar entered the Tennessee market in 1998. First Union said it was leaving the state to concentrate on faster-growing markets and specific businesses, including capital markets and investment management. In a restructuring announced in June, First Union said it would shed up to 90 branches on the East Coast.

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