Washington Mutual Inc. said its shareholders approved the thrift's $6.8 billion merger with Great Western Financial Corp., Chatsworth, Calif.

The transaction won approval from stockholders representing 93.2% of Washington Mutual's common shares. The vote was held last Friday, the same day that Great Western's shareholders approved the deal.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory review, which is expected to be complete in three weeks. The merger would create the nation's largest savings and loan, with $88.5 billion of assets and 1,200 branches.

H.F. Ahmanson & Co., which would become the country's second-largest thrift assuming the deal between Washington Mutual and Great Western is completed, put the California thrift into play in February.

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