RICHMOND, Va. -- Crestar Financial Corp. said it signed a definitive agreement to buy Virginia Federal Savings from MNC Financial.

Crestar said it will pay about $52 million in cash for Virginia Federal. The sale is part of MNC's realignment in preparation for completion of its previously reported merger into NationsBank Corp.

Crestar said it expects to complete the acquisition by yearend. Virginia Federal has $756 million of assets, $542 million in loans, and $516 million in deposits.

The acquisition includes Virginia Federal's mortgage production business and $1 billion mortgage servicing portfolio, which Crestar said it will integrate into its residential mortgage lending unit, which has a $6 billion portfolio.

Crestar said it expects to retain "a large majority" of Virginia Federal's 168 employees.

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