Sterling Bancorp in Montebello, N.Y., is one step closer to completing its purchase of Astoria Financial in Lake Success, N.Y.

The companies said in a press release Wednesday that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency had approved the $2.2 billion transaction. Shareholders at each company approved the deal in June.

The deal still needs approval from the Federal Reserve. The companies said they hope to complete it early in the fourth quarter.

The deal was initially announced in March, months after the $14.1 billion-asset Astoria’s planned sale to New York Community Bancorp was called off. Astoria’s management has said that the sale to New York Community fell through because there wasn’t a clear timeline on when it would receive regulatory approval.

With the acquisition, the $14.6 billion-asset Sterling would nearly double in size.

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Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart covers community banks and mergers and acquisitions for American Banker.