PNC Bank Corp. said Thursday that it would buy Arcand Co., a portland, Ore., investor in affordable housing.

PNC said the acquisition would heighten the bank's role in affordable housing and boost its efforts to become a national commercial real estate financial services company.

Arcand has raised more than $300 million from institutional investors and corporations in the last five years. The company's portfolio is valued at over $1 billion and includes more than 22,000 affordable apartments in 43 states.

"Sponsors of tax credits like ourselves need to have access to institutional capital to be competitive in the marketplace today," said David Sebastian, president of Arcand.

Tax credits have become "perhaps the only form of financing for the production of affordable housing that exists today," Mr. Sebastian said. And the tax credit program is "slated to be expanded" in the pending tax bill, he added.

The deal, subject to approval, is expected to close in July. Arcand's senior management would continue to operate the company, but founder Robert Arcand would retire. The company's name would change to Columbia Housing Corp.

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