First Cecilian Bancorp in Cecilia, Ky., has agreed to buy Farmers Bancshares in Hardinsburg, Ky.

The $887 million First Cecilian said in a press release Monday that it will pay $49 million for the $232 million-asset Farmers. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

First Cecilian has two banks and 19 branches. Farmers has two banks and seven branches.

"We best operate in strong and traditional hometowns near to us and this fits right into our footprint and banking operation," Greg Pawley, president and chief executive of Cecilian Bank, said in the release. "The strongest reason for an acquisition strategy is finding partnerships that closely fit our model, and these two banks are very compelling partners to join together. This strategy is particularly important in order to continue to meet the challenges of our highly competitive banking environment."

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