Capitol Bancorp Ltd. said Thursday it plans to sell a North Carolina affiliate to a local group, continuing a campaign to raise capital and reduce its debt.

It's the third such deal for the lender this week. Capitol has executive offices in Michigan and Arizona, two regions especially hard hit by the economic downturn. The community banking company has a network of separately chartered banks in 17 states.

Capitol in April hired Keefe, Bruyette & Woods to help it evaluate potential divestitures and had previously reached agreements to sell affiliates in Illinois and Arizona. The company had been cutting costs and selling assets before that, consolidating four other banks in Arizona earlier this year while selling and merging operations last year in Michigan.

The sale of Community Bank of Rowan, which specializes in serving small and midsize businesses is expected to close in the second half of the year and require regulatory approval. The deal with First American Financial Management Co. represents 1.5 times the tangible common equity of the $147 million bank. Capitol will continue to provide back-office functions to the bank after the deal closes.

Earlier this week Capitol unveiled plans to sell units in California and Nevada.

Shares closed at $1.99 on Wednesday and didn't trade premarket. The stock is down 74% this year, including 25% in July.

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