Community Bankers Trust (ESXB) in Glen Allen, Va., has agreed to sell its Georgia operations to Community & Southern Holdings in Atlanta.

Community & Southern will pay $5.2 million for four Georgia branches, a slight discount to the properties' book value, along with a 1.33% premium for roughly $192 million of deposits, the companies said Monday. Community Southern can renegotiate the deposit premium if the deposit total decreases by more than $10 million before the transaction's expected fourth quarter completion. Community Bankers will retain the loans.

The purchase will give the $2.6 billion-asset Community & Southern 38 branches, all in Georgia, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It will reduce the $1.1 billion-asset Community Bankers' network to 20 branches in Virginia and Maryland, according to the FDIC.

Community Bankers said it expects the sale of its Georgia business to reduce expenses by $1.2 million a year.

Community Bankers' Bank of Essex bought four Georgia branches in November 2008 following the failure of the $681 million-asset Community Bank in Loganville. Bank of Essex bought about $84 million of Community Bank's assets and paid the FDIC a $3.2 million premium for the failed bank's $611 million in deposits.

"We acquired the Georgia franchise … when having appropriate amounts of liquidity and core deposits was critical to our business goals at that time," Res Smith, Community Bankers' president and chief executive, said in a press release. "Our strategies, however, have changed over the years, and this divestiture is in line with our long-term plan and allows us to focus solely on what has become our core banking franchises in the Virginia and Maryland markets."

Community & Southern bought one Atlanta branch from Ameris Bancorp (ABCP) last year.

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