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Fed approves NATCOM investment in Republic Bancshares

The Federal Reserve Board has approved NATCOM Bancshares Inc.'s application to acquire 49% of Republic Bancshares Inc.'s voting shares and control of subsidiary Republic Bank Inc.

The management of Duluth, Minn.-based Republic had urged the regulator to deny NATCOM's application. The parties are direct competitors in the Duluth market, and Republic argued that NATCOM's proposed ownership would give it access to business and customer information useful for anti-competitive behavior. NATCOM countered that a consent order with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, in connection with the state regulator's approval of the same transaction, limited that access.

Under the consent order, NATCOM is not privy to certain information regarding Republic's share register; records of shareholder and board proceedings; articles and bylaws; certain financial statements; certain voting trust and other shareholder control agreements; names and business addresses of the directors and principal officers, among other documents.

The Fed accordingly decided that NATCOM's application meets the agency's requirements.