RALEIGH, N.C. -- First Citizens Bancshares of North Carolina has announced plans to acquire Pace American Bank in Lawrenceville, Va.

Subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, First Citizens expects to complete the purchase in the first quarter of 1995. Pace shareholders will be offered a choice of cash or First Citizens Class A stock.

Pace American has $58 million of assets, $50 million of deposits, and four offices. The bank's name, management, staff, and board, including president John E. Traylor, will remain in place, said James B. Hyler Jr., vice chairman and chief operating officer of Raleigh-based First Citizens.

First Citizens, with $6 billion of assets and 310 North Carolina offices, views its Virginia foray as "both an investment and an opportunity," Mr. Hyler said. "There are certain similarities in Pace American Bank's market with some of the smaller community markets we serve in North Carolina."

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