The lawyer H. Rodgin Coghen, according to the Dec. 7 American Banker, said that in informal discussions with regulators prior to the Mellon-Dreyfus acquisition announcement, "no one said don't do it."

Regulatory underlings don't give the kind of assurances that Mr. Cohen would be able to hang his hat oil. My guess is that Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig either gave the green light in person, or it was a cut-and-dried deal before such a meeting was held.

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