First United Bancshares plans to expand into Louisiana with a proposed deal to buy a small bank by about yearend.

First United, a $1.6 billion-asset thrift company, already operates 32 banking offices in Arkansas and six in Texas. By acquiring City Bank and Trust, a $61.5 million-asset Shreveport institution, First United would move into northwestern Louisiana.

Its officials described the transaction as a pooling of interests rather than an acquisition because they intend to run City Bank and Trust separately.

City Bank and Trust is expected to keep its name and current employees should it become part of First United, officials said.

The Arkansas thrift said it intends to acquire all of City Bank and Trust's stock for $16.9 million. The deal is expected to close by yearend or early 1998.

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