Shawmut National Corp. said Thursday that federal regulators have lifted operating restrictions first imposed on New England's third-largest bank beginning in 1990.

The bank had entered agreements with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston that focused on the need to improve asset quality and credit administration.

"While the improvements in our business have been evident for some time, the lifting of these restrictions is a formal acknowledgment that our recovery is complete," Joel B. Alvord, chairman of the $27 billion asset Shawmut, said in a statement.

Shawmut, which has headquarters in Boston and Hartford, earned $71 million in the third quarter and reported continued credit quality improvement.

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