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The Wednesday Express: Fed likely to raise rates; National Commerce in $52M deal

* The Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to release its benchmark interest rate decision at 2 p.m ET, and markets generally expect a 25-basis-point increase in the benchmark federal funds rate. Meanwhile, some analysts are floating the possibility that new Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will hold more press conferences than his predecessors.

* Alabama-based National Commerce is acquiring Premier Community Bank of Florida in a deal valued at approximately $52.0 million.

* In Illinois, QCR Holdings is purchasing wealth advisory Bates Cos. for $3 million in cash and up to $3 million of QCR's common stock. The Bates entities — which includes Bates Financial Advisors, Bates Securities, Bates Financial Services and Bates Financial Group — will be merged into the wealth management unit of Rockford Bank and Trust, a subsidiary of QCR.

* Missouri-based Great Southern Bank is selling approximately $58 million in deposits and all four branches in the Omaha, Neb., metropolitan market.

* Investment manager Blackstone Group and Thomson Reuters are considering an initial public offering or a sale of their stake in Tradeweb Markets after Blackstone closes its purchase of Thomson Reuters's financial and risk unit, "people with knowledge of the matter" told Bloomberg News. Tradeweb, which builds and operates electronic over-the-counter marketplaces, may be valued at over $4 billion in an IPO or sale, the report adds.

* Santander Consumer USA Holdings has resolved an investigation relating to fair lending laws through a confidential agreement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

* In insurance news, Progressive Corp.'s growth rate in private auto direct premiums written in 2017 narrowly topped that of rival GEICO Corp. for the first time in 14 years.

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