A Tennessee community bank investor has acquired a majority stake in AB&T Financial in Gastonia, N.C.

Byron DeFoor of Ooltewah, Tenn., directly invested $3.5 million in AB&T and acquired from private investors the company's shares in the Troubled Asset Relief Program, AB&T said in a Friday news release. DeFoor then exchanged the Tarp shares for common stock in the $155 million-asset holding company for Alliance Bank & Trust.

Additionally, DeFoor named Alan Smith chairman of both AB&T and Alliance Bank & Trust, and named Craig Taylor vice chairman of the bank and holding company.

DeFoor is also the majority owner of the $126 million-asset Community Trust & Banking in Ooltewah.

Community Capital Advisors was the financial adviser on the transaction. Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton was legal adviser to AB&T, and Miller & Martin was DeFoor's legal adviser.

Separately, AB&T also said on Friday that it has raised $7.8 million of common equity in a private placement. AB&T did not disclose the identity of the private investors and said it plans to use the proceeds to bolster its capital.

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