WASHINGTON - A bank that had been prevented from consolidating because of Community Reinvestment Act deficiencies has received Federal Reserve Board approval after making more loans to American Indians.

The Fed's long-delayed ruling allows First Interstate BancSystem of Montana Inc. to merge seven banks into its flagship subsidiary in Billings. The ruling also may pave the way for a merger of First Interstate BancSystem with a sister company in Wyoming. The deal was unlikely to be approved without the additional lending to the Indian community.

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