Unable to gain timely regulatory approval, Metro Bancorp Inc. has again delayed its acquisition of Republic First Bancorp Inc. in Philadelphia.

Last week the $2.1 billion-asset Metro announced the third extension for completing the deal, initially announced in November 2008. The companies gave themselves until March 31 to persuade regulators to approve the deal. But if that deadline is not met, the companies have already set another extension, to June 30. The deal received approval from shareholders in the spring.

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