Bank of America (BAC) has agreed to sell 17 branches in North Carolina and Virginia with a total of $944 million in deposits to First Community Bank in Bluefield, Va., and HomeTrust Bancshares (HTBI) in Asheville, N.C.

First Community agreed to buy six branches in southwestern Virginia and a branch in Mt. Airy, N.C. The bank will also buy $440 million in deposits in a deal that is expected to close later this year.

"This branch acquisition fits squarely with our strategic objective to grow our banking franchise in markets that are in or near our core banking operations," Gary Mills, First Community's chief executive, said in a press release Tuesday. "These branches complement our existing operations in southwestern Virginia and the Piedmont region" of North Carolina.

HomeTrust agreed to buy nine branches in Virginia and a branch in Eden, N.C. The $2.8 billion-asset company will also buy $504 million in deposits at a 2.86% premium, along with a small amount of loans. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

"We are excited about this opportunity to enhance our branch network and expand the HomeTrust franchise in Virginia," Dana Stonestreet, HomeTrust's chairman, president and chief executive, said in a press release. "Expansion in Virginia supports our growth strategy to capitalize on opportunities that leverage our capital, create scale and increase operating efficiencies over a wider market footprint."

HomeTrust recently announced plans to open a loan production office in Roanoke, Va., on June 30. Six of the B of A branches are located in the Roanoke Valley.

Bank of America continues to sell branches, primarily in more rural markets. The Charlotte, N.C., company has unloaded about 250 branches with more than $8 billion in deposits, including the deals announced on Tuesday and its recent agreement to sell 13 branches in Tennessee to First Horizon (FHN).

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