(1) The Director of Banking and Finance may permit cross-industry acquisition or merger of one or more financial institutions under its supervision upon the application of such institutions to the Department of Banking and Finance. The application shall be made on forms prescribed by the department.
(2) Except as provided for in subsection (3) of this section, when an application is made for such an acquisition or merger, notice of the filing of the application shall be published by the department three weeks in a legal newspaper in or of general circulation in the county where the applicant proposes to operate the acquired or merged financial institution. A public hearing shall be held on each application. The date for hearing the application shall be not more than ninety days after the filing of the application and not less than thirty days after the last publication of notice after the examination and approval by the department of the application. If the department, upon investigation and after public hearing on the application, is satisfied that the stockholders and officers of the financial institution applying for such acquisition or merger are parties of integrity and responsibility, that the requirements of section 8-702 have been met or some alternate form of protection for depositors has been met, and that the public necessity, convenience, and advantage will be promoted by permitting such acquisition or merger, the department shall, upon payment of the required fees, issue to such institution an order of approval for the acquisition or merger.
(3) When application is made for cross-industry acquisition or merger and the director determines, in his or her discretion, that the financial condition of the financial institution surviving the acquisition or merger is such as to indicate that a hearing on the application would not be necessary, then the hearing requirement of subsection (2) of this section shall only be required if, (a) after publishing a notice of the proposed application in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or counties where the offices of the financial institution to be merged or acquired are located and (b) after giving notice to all financial institutions located within such county or counties, the director receives a substantive objection to the application within fifteen days after the first day of publication. The director shall send the notice to financial institutions by first-class mail, postage prepaid, or electronic mail. Electronic mail may be used if the financial institution agrees in advance to receive such notices by electronic mail. A financial institution may designate one office for receipt of any such notice if it has more than one office located within the county where such notice is to be sent or a main office in a county other than the county where such notice is to be sent.
(4) The expense of any publication and mailing required by this section shall be paid by the applicant but payment shall not be a condition precedent to approval by the director.