Achieva Credit Union in Dunedin, Fla., has agreed to buy Calusa Bank in Punta Gorda, Fla.

The $23.2 million cash deal would expand the $1.1 billion-asset credit union's presence along the western Florida coast, where the $165 million-asset Calusa has four branches. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

It would be the first acquisition of a commercial bank by a credit union in Florida, and the seventh such deal nationally, according to a report from Hovde Group, which advised the transaction.

"We like the way they identify and reach out to their client base and their members," Todd Katz, Calusa's president, said in an interview Tuesday. "Let's face it, the regulatory burden that we've seen over the last few years has made it more difficult to make banking fun or profitable."

"The geographic location of their branches is appealing to us," said Gary Regoli, Achieva's chief executive. Calusa's branches fill "a gap in our branch footprint."

Regoli said a third-party vendor that Achieva works with suggested that it approach Calusa about a deal.

Much is often made of the differences between banks and credit unions, but Regoli said one thing that made the merger such a natural fit was the similar mind-set between credit unions and community banks. "Community banks, in more ways than people realize, are focused on the same things credit unions are," he said.

The number of bank acquisitions by credit unions has increased since the financial crisis, as small banks struggle with stagnant growth and concerns over increased compliance.

Calusa Bank was formed in 2007, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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