February 24, 2017 / 4:17 PM / 6 months ago

Exclusive: Federal Reserve approves F.N.B.'s acquisition of Yadkin - sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve has approved F.N.B. Corporation's (FNB.N) acquisition of Yadkin Financial Corp (YDKN.N), two people familiar with the matter said on Friday, the first U.S. bank merger to receive regulatory clearance in 2017.

The approval could be announced as soon as later on Friday, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is not yet public. The Fed declined to comment, while Yadkin and F.N.B. did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Raleigh, North Carolina-based Yadkin and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based based F.N.B. had announced plans to merge in July 2016 in an all-stock transaction valued at $1.4 billion.

The deal would give F.N.B. nearly $30 billion in assets, still below a key regulatory threshold of $50 billion. Lenders with more than $50 billion in assets are labeled systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), meaning they are subject to enhanced Fed supervision and the central bank's annual stress tests.

The deal's approval by the Fed could signal an improved regulatory environment for bank mergers. President Donald Trump has been a sharp critic of bank regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis and has called for a rollback of some of those policies.

Community bank merger activity has remained sluggish since the crisis, with several recent deals called off because of failure to obtain regulatory approval.

Those deals include New York Community Bancorp Inc’s (NYCB.N) bid for Astoria Financial and Investors Bancorp Inc’s (ISBC.O) bid for The Bank of Princeton.

Reporting by David French and Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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