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McALLEN, TX-Regulatory approval from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has brought Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA’s acquisition of Texas Regional Bancshares Inc. one step closer to reality. If the $2.16-billion merger goes through, Texas Regional will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the international Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, headquartered in Spain.

The merger was announced in June, and Texas Regional Bancshares shareholders approved it in September. For Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, the merger represents a method to solidify its strength in the Texas market. The bank had acquired Laredo National Bank in 2005 and “the acquisition of Texas State Bank represents a significant step in the execution of BBVA’s US strategy, which we began in 2004,” said Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria’s US CEO José María García in a prepared statement.

On the other side of the deal, Texas Regional Bancshares chairman and CEO Glen E. Roney indicated in the same statement that customers will continue to see the same level of service and “at the same time will enjoy a broader array of financial products and services.”

Upon completion of the merger, Texas Regional Bancshares, which will become part of Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria’s US retail banking unit, will continue current operations under the same management team, while carrying the Bilbao Vizcaya name (BBVA US). The acquisition will also make Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria the largest bank in the Texas market.

Details on the closing date were not available. Representatives from Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Texas Regional Bancshares could not be reached by press time.

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