A growing North Dakota community banking company is buying its first bank holding company in Arizona, initiating what could be a string of acquisitions there.

Community First Bancshares, a $4.3 billion-asset company based in Fargo, said it would acquire Phoenix-based Republic National Bancorp. in a stock swap. Community First would exchange 375,000 shares of its common stock for the one-branch, $53 million-asset company. Based on the North Dakota company's Friday share price of $40.75, the deal is worth $15.3 million.

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