Abigail Adams National Bancorp is making its first acquisition since it held a secondary public offering last year to finance expansion plans.

The Washington-based bank has signed a letter of intent to acquire Ballston Bancorp, a $79 million-asset company in the northern Virginia suburbs.

"Northern Virginia is the fastest-growth area in our region, and that happened to be the largest bank we could digest," said Barbara Blum, president of Abigail Adams. Abigail Adams would pay $14 million, half in cash and half in stock, for Ballston, which has $79 million of assets and had return on equity of 10.2% last year.

The purchase price is 1.8 times Ballston's book value. The deal would add 6 cents to Abigail Adams' earnings per share in the first year, Ms. Blum said.

"They took their sweet time looking for the right deal, instead of running to buy the first thing that came along," said Lew Sosnowik, a Rockville, Md., analyst for Koonce Securities.

Ballston has a full-service branch in Arlington, Va., limited operations in a shopping center, and an automated teller machine in a hospital. It also has signed a lease to open a branch in Falls Church, Va.

Abigail Adams, which has $116 million of assets, is owned and primarily run by women. It has four branches and plans to open a fifth in November, Ms. Blum said.

A large number of shareholders in Ballston Bancorp, whose principal subsidiary is Bank of Northern Virginia, are women, according to Brian Alprin, an attorney for the banking company. Robert Kelleher, Ballston's president, declined to comment on the agreement.

Both banks focus on small-business owners, and Ms. Blum said she wants to increase the attention to a growing population of women and minority entrepreneurs in the Virginia suburbs.

The merger agreement must be approved by the banks' directors and by regulators. Abigail Adams expects to complete the transaction by yearend.

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