Consider it a very light slap on the wrist. The Federal Reserve Board on Mar. 1 approved Banc One's $1.2 billion acquisition of Valley National Corp., giving Banc One the largest banking franchise in Arizona. The board put aside protests from activists and the city of Cleveland, who asked for commitments to greater community lending before the deal was granted. But the Fed also disclosed that Banc One's Cleveland affiliate had received a preliminary "needs to improve" rating of its community record from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The rating will be considered if Banc One attempts future acquisitions.
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