Commerce Bancorp said Thursday that it is buying Community First Banking Co., Tinton Falls, N.J., for $60 million in stock. Community First is the parent of Tinton Falls State Bank, a $190 million- asset institution with seven branches in Monmouth County, N.J. The deal is expected to close by yearend.

Vernon W. Hill 2d, chairman and president of Commerce, said the deal complements his company's planned expansion into the county. Commerce had announced plans this year to build 15 branches in Monmouth, the first of which is slated to open in November.

"The combination of Tinton Falls State Bank's local presence and our retail model will provide the basis for dramatic expansion throughout Monmouth County and the state of New Jersey," Mr. Hill said.

Commerce, which has $4.6 billion of assets, operates 79 branches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. - Louis Whiteman

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