M&T Bank and Hudson City Bancorp plan to mail ballots this week to shareholders asking for approval of the companies' planned merger.

The announcement, disclosed in a regulatory filing made on Monday by Hudson City, is a possible precursor to the deal finally closing. M&T's agreement to acquire Hudson City was first announced in August 2012, but has since been postponed three times. Regulators have held up the deal on concerns that M&T's processes for anti-money-laundering compliance were insufficient; the company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade in that area.

The deal between the $97 billion-asset M&T in Buffalo, N.Y., and the $37 billion-asset Hudson City in Paramus, N.J., is currently scheduled to close by May 1. The closing deadline was most recently postponed in December.

Hudson City has taken other steps recently to prepare for a potential closing. The company on Friday mailed notices to participants in its profit incentive bonus plan and its employee stock-ownership plan of an upcoming blackout period. Participants will not be able to transfer or take distribution of funds associated with those plans, in advance of the potential deal closing. The blackout period is tentatively scheduled for April 20 to May 10.

Additionally, Hudson City on Monday informed executives and directors of a trading blackout period on their Hudson City equity securities.

M&T Bank did not file a document on Monday to accompany Hudson City's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. M&T Bank last commented on the Hudson City deal on March 12, when it noted that the capital plan it submitted to the Federal Reserve Board for this year's stress tests contained a "pro forma projection of assets, results of operations and capital incorporating the proposed acquisition of Hudson City." M&T Bank passed the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review with a projected Tier 1 capital ratio of 6.9%.

Shares of Hudson City rose 3.3% to $10.76 in Monday morning trading, the second-best performance in the 86-company Standard & Poor's 500 Financials Index. Its shares settled back to $10.49 at the close, a slight increase from a day earlier. M&T gained 1.1% to $129.42 in morning trading and finished down slightly at $127.33.

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