BancorpSouth Inc. is breaking into Alabama with a deal to buy $280 million-asset Alabama Bancorp in Birmingham.

BancorpSouth said it has signed a binding agreement but did not disclose terms of the deal.

The acquisition would give the $4.4 billion BancorpSouth seven branches in the Birmingham area and four offices in Fort Deposit, Greenville, Hayneville, and Burkville.

BancorpSouth operates 134 branches in Mississippi and Tennessee. It recently launched an initiative to at least double its size in the next few years. The company plans to make additional acquisitions in Alabama, company officials said.

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