NBT Bancorp of Norwich, N.Y., started off the new year by announcing an agreement to buy one of the oldest banks in upstate New York.

The $2.6 billion-asset company said this week that it has a deal to buy First National Bancorp of Norfolk, N.Y., for $115 million in stock. First National shareholders would receive five shares of NBT stock for each share owned.

First National Bancorp, which has assets of $114 million, is the parent First National Bank of Northern New York, which was founded in 1916.

First National Bank's six branches would become branches of NBT Bank, the lead subsidiary of NBT Bancorp

Martin A. Dietrich, president and chief operating officer NBT Bank, said that acquiring First National is a "logical extension" of NBT's presence in northwestern New York.

Last year NBT acquired LA Bank and Pioneer American Bank, both of Pennsylvania, and merged them with eight branches it had recently acquired to form Pennstar Bank. It also struck a deal to merge with $2.3 billion-asset BSB Bancorp of Binghamton, N.Y., but called it off in October, citing commercial loan problems at BSB.

The First National deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

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