The Federal Reserve Board has cleared the way for a North Carolina community bank to buy an in-state rival.

Carolina First Bancshares, based in Lincolnton, announced in June that it had an agreement to buy Community Bank and Trust in Marion for $32 million of stock. Though the deal was approved by the state banking commission Nov. 12, it was delayed by the Fed pending an investigation of stock purchases by Carolina First's former chairman.

D. Mark Boyd 3d, who resigned as the head of the $563 million-asset company last month, has been indicted by a state grand jury on securities fraud charges. He is accused of buying shares in $103 million-asset Community Trust after negotiations between the two companies had begun but before a deal was announced.

The original agreement expired at the end of November, but the two sides extended it through yearend. This goal now seems within reach, they said.

"We are delighted to have this matter finally resolved," said James E. Burt 3d, president and chief executive officer of Carolina First.

-Louis Whiteman

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