Bank of North Carolina in Thomasville, N.C., announced Thursday that it is buying Regent Bank in Greenville, S.C., for $9.8 million.

Bank of North Carolina, a subsidiary of the $2.1 billion-asset BNC Bancorp., is buying the $52 million-asset bank from Regent Bancorp Inc., a two-bank holding company in Davie, Fla.

Bank of North Carolina first expanded into South Carolina when it bought Beach First National Bank in Myrtle Beach in April 2010.

In a press release, its deal for Regent was touted as a low-risk, small acquisition that gives Bank of North Carolina access to the growing market of Greenville. Regent Bancorp, with $514 million of assets, started the South Carolina bank in April 2009, after the collapse of real estate values, so all portfolio loans being underwritten with higher credit standards, Bank of North Carolina said.

The sale is expected to close in early 2012.

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