CenterState Banks Inc. in Davenport, Fla., has sold off a chunk of nonperforming loans in a deal that it says would free up capital that it could use for future expansion.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday, the $2.2 billion-asset, two-bank holding company said it has sold nonperforming loans with unpaid balances totaling $7.9 million in the wholesale debt market for roughly 52 cents on the dollar. The loans were mostly commercial real estate loans that CenterState said were at least a year away from "orderly liquidation."

The sale would help clean up the company's balance sheet as it looks to capitalize on opportunities to expand into new markets. Earlier this month CenterState announced that it intends to acquire the $367 million-asset Federal Trust Bank from its owner, insurance giant Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. That sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

In Tuesday's SEC filing, the company also said that it is evaluating all its options for dealing with other problem loans on its books, including negotiating new terms with customers, foreclosure or selling the loans buyers of distressed assets. At March 31, roughly $78.4 million of its loans were at least 90 days past due, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

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