HomeTrust Bancshares in Asheville, N.C., has agreed to buy United Financial of North Carolina, a municipal lease finance company based in Fletcher, N.C.

The $2.8 billion-asset HomeTrust said in a press release Monday that it expects to close the deal on Jan. 1. The company did not disclose the price it will pay.

United Financial was founded in 1990 by "Bill" Ammons, who will become HomeTrust's director of municipal leasing. United Financial provides financing for fire departments and municipalities to buy fire trucks and related equipment before selling the leases to other financial institutions. The company also funds the construction of fire stations and other municipal buildings across in a number of states.

All of United Financial's employees will join HomeTrust.

"By combining with a company that provides such excellent customer service within a niche market, we have a unique opportunity to continue United Financial's legacy and expand our municipal lease finance product line for many years to come," Dana Stonestreet, SomeTrust's president and CEO, said in the release.

The acquisitive HomeTrust agreed in September to buy TriSummit Bancorp in Kingsport, Tenn.

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