WASHINGTON - Marine Midland Bank can acquire six branches from its parent despite a New York community groups protest, the Federal Reserve Board ruled last week.
The board, in an unusually detailed order, dismissed a Community Reinvestment Act complaint, and granted the banks application to assume the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. branches.
Concerned Citizens of Westchester County had charged that Marine Midland failed to address minority mortgage needs in the suburban county. The group also claimed Marine Midland failed to advertise in predominately African-American neighborhoods, and did not participate in seminars for firs-time homebuyers.
Representatives of Concerned Citizens could not be located for comment.
The Fed said the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found Marine Midland complied with CRA rules, awarding it a "satisfactory" rating in January.
Examiners concluded that the banks loan policies and underwriting criteria were "reasonable," and applauded Marine Midland's extensive use of second review for rejected loans, the Fed said.
Also, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data from 1992 and 1993 revealed that more African-Americans are applying for and receiving loans, the order stated.
The board also said the bank participates in numerous home mortgage, small business, and community development loans.
And although the board found differences in Marine Midland's approval rates for whites and minorities. it said they were not enough to conclude that the bank broke the law.
"In light of all facts of record, the board believes the efforts of Marine Midland to help meet the credit needs of afl segments of its communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, hoods, as well as all other conveniences and needs considerations, are consistent with this approval," the board said.
The acquisition will leave Marine Midland with control of $12.9 billion in deposits, representing 5.3% of all deposits at New York commercial banks.