WASHINGTON Two merging Midwestern banks must sell six Michigan branches to resolve anti-trust concerns, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
Fifth Third Bancorp, with headquarters in Cincinnati, and Old Kent Financial Corp., with headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich., have agreed to sell branches in Fremont, Grand Haven, Holland, St. Joseph, and Zeeland, all cities in Western Michigan. According to Justice, the merger, without the divestitures, would have reduced competition for small business banking services.
Under the agreement, the banks will divest four Old Kent Bank branches and two Fifth Third branches, with $206.3 million of deposits, and the loans associated with the branches. Additionally, the banks agreed to sell any branches closed in these markets as a result of the merger to a commercial bank, as long as the banks offer is equivalent to, or better than, any offer from a non-bank bidder.
The Federal Reserve Board must approve the proposed merger, which Justice said it will not challenge as a result of the agreement.