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BARNETT REPORTS FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL CLEARS FIRST FLORIDA MERGER

 JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 19 ~PRNewswire~ -- Barnett Banks, Inc. (NYSE: BBI) today announced that Florida Attorney General Robert A. Butterworth has informed the company that his office "contemplates no impediments to the completion of the merger" with First Florida Banks, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: FFBK).
 Barnett has committed to the Florida attorney general that it will make an additional $200 million available over the next 36 months for commercial and industrial loans to qualified small business borrowers operating in Volusia and Brevard counties. Barnett agreed that these loans would be made at rates no higher than what it charges for comparable loans in the Tampa Bay or Jacksonville markets.
 The company also committed to retaining all First Florida tellers and customer service representatives and establishing a new item processing center in Tampa that will make additional jobs available.
 "Barnett is pleased by Attorney General Butterworth's decision and appreciates the cooperation his office has provided throughout its review," said Charles E. Rice, Barnett chairman and chief executive officer. "As the attorney general has recognized, this merger enhancing a strong Florida-based banking company dedicated to serving the financial interests of its home state is good for the citizens of Florida."
 Although no further approvals are required for the merger, the Federal Reserve Board approval on Oct. 28 was conditioned on certain divestiture obligations. Negotiations are underway to satisfy these requirements as soon as possible.
 First Florida Banks, Inc. has $5.5 billion in assets and operates in 20 counties throughout central and western Florida.
 With $32.6 billion in assets and 596 offices in Florida and Georgia, Barnett Banks, Inc. is Florida's leading financial institution and the 19th-largest banking company in the United States. Its stock (BBI) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
 -0- 11~19~92
 ~CONTACT: Bob Stickler (media), 904-791-5437 (office) or 904-396-9284 (home), or Helen Rowan (analysts), 904-791-7627 (office) or 904-272-6915 (home), both of Barnett Banks, Inc.~
 (BBI FFBK)


CO: Barnett Banks, Inc.; First Florida Banks, Inc. ST: Florida IN: FIN SU: TNM

AW-SS -- FL013 -- 3019 11~19~92 15:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 19, 1992
Words:342
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