A Federal Re-serve Board hearing Friday gave community activists a chance to sound off against the First Union-CoreStates merger, but Sen. Arlen Specter made some of the loudest noise.

The Pennsylvania Republican, a consistent critic of the proposed $17 billion deal, won cheers of approval from the protesters by saying he might introduce a bill that would tie the hands of bankers hoping to close offices and otherwise cut costs in a merger's aftermath.

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