The Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Friday that they would hold a public hearing on the proposed acquisition of Pasadena’s OneWest Bank by lending company CIT Group in Livingston, N.J., responding to pressure from community groups opposing the union.

According to a joint press release from both government entities, the hearing will be focused on how well the banks are addressing the needs of the community, which will include a review of their compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act, a law meant to ensure lower-income communities have access to affordable banking services.

The California Reinvestment Coalition, a San Francisco nonprofit that lobbies for banks to ramp up their Community Reinvestment Act programs – and tries to hold up bank mergers when they don’t – has pushed regulators to block or delay the CIT-OneWest deal, saying it would combine two banks with questionable track records.

“Today’s announcement is good news for communities, though we think it would have been nearly impossible for the Federal Reserve and the OCC to ignore the historic opposition to this merger,” said Paulina Gonzalez, the coalition’s executive director. “We’re hopeful this hearing won’t be a dog and pony show followed by a rubber stamp approval of the merger.”

In advance of Friday’s announcement from the OCC and Federal Reserve, the reinvestment coalition and OneWest staged dueling letter-writing campaigns, asking their supporters to write letters opposing or promoting the deal, respectively.

The meeting will be held on Feb. 26 at the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in downtown Los Angeles. It is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Anyone wishing to speak at the hearing will have to file a written request by 5 p.m. on Feb. 20.

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