FirstMerit Corp. said Monday that its 1999 earnings will not be hurt by an unexpected loss posted by Signal Corp., a rival Ohio bank it bought last month.

FirstMerit bought Signal for about $420 million, in a deal that closed Feb. 12, to expand its specialty financing business. FirstMerit said Signal had a loss of $25.7 million in 1998. It had a $17.45 million profit the previous year.

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