Carolina First BancShares said Wednesday that it has a deal to buy Community Bank and Trust Co., Marion, N.C., for $32 million of stock.

The deal gives Lincolnton, N.C.-based Carolina First its entry into five North Carolina counties. Community Bank has seven branches and $95 million of assets.

"This expansion into western North Carolina provides an excellent growth opportunity," said D. Mark Boyd 3d, chairman and chief executive officer of $523 million-asset Carolina First. "It is our intent to use this base for further expansion of our franchise."

Carolina First is the holding company for two banks in the state. Combined, the two banks have 22 branches serving central North Carolina.

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