WALLACE, N.C. -- BB&T Financial Corp. said it will merge its insurance operation with the Ralph Carlton Insurance Agency, a six-person independent agency based here.

The agency will become part of BB&T Insurance Services, which will have offices in 16 cities in North Carolina when the deal is completed, probably in the third quarter.

To complete the acquisition, BB&T Financial plans to issue shares of its common stock. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

BB&T Financial, based in Wilson, N.C., operates 241 offices and has total assets of more than $6.7 billion. It is the parent company of Branch Banking and Trust Co., North Carolina's oldest bank, and BB&T of South Carolina.

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