Justice Dept. Nominee Vows Antitrust Focus

WASHINGTON - William Barr, President Bush's nominee for attorney general, said the Justice Department would challenge bank mergers it deems anticompetitive - even if the mergers have been approved by bank regulators.

"The antitrust division is going to take a look at bank mergers and won't hesitate to challenge them," Mr. Barr said in a confirmation hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Barr was responding to a question by Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, who said he was concerned about the competitive implications of several recent mergers of large banks.

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