Georgia's Century South Banks Inc. has a deal to buy Independent Bancorp, Oxford, Ala., for about $23 million in stock.

Independent Bancorp is the parent of Independent Bank of Oxford, with two branches and $92 million of assets.

Century South, with $1.1 billion of assets, is the holding company for 10 banks in Georgia and Tennessee. The agreement calls for Independent Bank to keep its name and charter after the merger.

The deal would give Century South its first presence in Alabama. But James A. Faulkner, chief executive officer of the Gainesville, Ga., company, said more could come.

"Our plans are for continued expansion into eastern Alabama, with Oxford serving as a base for that expansion," Mr. Faulkner said. The deal is expected to close at yearend.

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