BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Central Bancshares of the South, continuing its expansion in Florida, agreed to acquire the parent of Liberty Bank of Fort Walton Beach.

The deal for Peoples Holding Co. involves as much as $4.95 million in stock.

Liberty Bank has $42 million in assets and $34 million in deposits. Its three offices are expected to operate as branches of Central's Florida bank, which has four locations.

Alabama-based Central launched its foray into northwest Florida in July 1991 with the purchase of Citizens and Builders Federal Savings Bank, Pensacola. Central has $6.2 billion in assets and banking operations in Texas as well as Alabama and Florida.

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