Citigroup Inc.'s Salomon Smith Barney will open investment centers in each of a tiny North Carolina bank's four branches.

The deal with $170 million-asset MountainBank of Hendersonville is Salomon's first of the kind in the state. It has similar arrangements with 40 banks in 20 other states, including Florida and Georgia in the Southeast, said Tom Robison, director of Salomon's investment center division.

The Citi unit will offer full brokerage services and financial advice to MountainBank's customers..

MountainBank, whose branches are in Henderson and Polk counties, is taking the third-party marketing route that many community banks have used in order to retain customers.

J.W. Davis, the bank's president and chief executive officer, said the alliance would help it bring "full-service banking to our customers."

Salomon Smith Barney has 514 offices in 26 countries and manages $700 billion of assets. It has 11,000 financial consultants in 442 offices in the United States, serving 5.6 million clients.

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