PITTSBURGH - PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and National City shareholders today approved a merger between the banks.

The shareholders approved the merger at separate meetings in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, a largely symbolic gesture that sets the wheels in motion for the integration that is expected to be complete by late 2009.

PNC is acquiring Cleveland-based National City for $5.6 billion with money it obtained through the government's $700 billion bailout program. PNC is the first U.S. bank to use that money to make an acquisition.

The combined bank will have about $180 billion in deposits and more than 2,700 branches, most in the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest and Florida. It will have the largest deposit bases in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky and the second-largest in Maryland and Indiana.

Peter E. Raskind, National City Corp.'s chairman, president and chief executive, announced the merger had been approved at the meeting in Cleveland, but did not immediately provide vote totals. Those were expected later today.

About 90 shareholders attended the National City meeting. Some spoke out against the merger and expressed disappointment in National City's board and management.

Shareholder Don Pesek said he voted against the merger because he thinks that National City's board and management failed in their duties.

"I wanted to make that comment, even though I realize it was already a done deal," Pesek said after the meeting.

National City shareholder Melanie Deutsch said it was "a sad day for Cleveland."

"It doesn't strengthen Cleveland at all. I don't think PNC is concerned about Cleveland," she said.

At the meeting in Pittsburgh, about two dozen shareholders sat quietly through less than 10 minutes of explanations offered by James Rohr, PNC's chairman and chief executive. None spoke publicly about the merger or asked questions.

Rohr said the merger would give PNC a unique opportunity to invest in the future and allow it to enter markets where family income exceeds the national average. PNC expects National City to begin adding to PNC's earnings in 2010, he added.

Rohr said his meetings with National City executives have been positive.

"They are engaged and enthusiastic about the merger," Rohr said. "I believe that this new organization will have long-term benefits."

As of June 30, PNC had 8.2 percent of the market share of deposits in the eight-county Philadelphia region.

Associated Press Writer M.R. Kropko in Cleveland contributed to this article.