WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve has approved the applications of Norwest Corp. to acquire Copper Bancshares of New Mexico, LaPorte Bancorp of Hammond, Ind., and related subsidiaries.

The Fed said Minneapolis-based Norwest has total consolidated assets of $56.2 billion and operates 88 banks in 15 states. It is already the second-largest commercial banking organization in New Mexico, with deposits of $1.6 billion. Copper, the 26th-largest commercial bank in the state, does not compete directly with Norwest, the Fed said.

Norwest is the sixth-largest commercial banking organization in Indiana, controlling deposits of $1.7 billion, and will be adding $141.6 million of assets with LaPorte, the 50th-largest in the state.

Norwest and LaPorte compete directly in the LaPorte, Ind., market, but the Fed concluded that the combination would not have significantly adverse effects on competition there.

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