A budding Ohio bank is making its 10th acquisition in as many years with a plan to buy three branches from a neighboring bank.

The Citizens Banking Co., Salineville, Ohio, has agreed to buy the Belmont County offices of Metropolitan Savings Bank of Ohio, the Youngstown-based affiliate of F.N.B. Corp., Hermitage, Pa. Metropolitan officials said the Belmont branches were two hours from its headquarters and the bank hadn't succeeded in filling the gap between the two areas.

"If you look at the geography, it's a natural extension for us," said Marty E. Adams, president and chief executive officer of Citizens. "It looks to be we are a more natural owner than they are."

The planned acquisition would give Citizens $1 billion of assets.

As part of the deal, Citizens would acquire about $66 million of deposits and $26 million of loans, paying a 9% premium on the deposits. The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, is valued at $6 million.

Samuel K. Sollenberger, chairman and chief executive officer of Metropolitan Savings Bank, said it had been approached by several companies interested in the branches. But Citizens' proximity to them made it the best buyer, he said.

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