New York Community Bancorp in Westbury and Astoria Financial in Lake Success, N.Y., are one step closer to completing their merger.

The companies' shareholders, during separate special meetings Tuesday, approved New York Community's agreement to buy Astoria. More than 97% of the votes cast at both meetings favored the deal, New York Community said in a press release.

The acquisition is still waiting for regulatory approval.

The $48.5 billion-asset New York Community had long been looking for an acquisition to propel it over $50 billion of assets, a threshold where it would be considered systematically important and be subject to more regulatory scrutiny. New York Community agreed in October to pay roughly $2 billion for the $15 billion-asset Astoria.

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