Cardinal State Bank in Durham, N.C., is shopping itself to potential buyers, according to a local news report.

Triangle Business Journal reported Friday that the $189 million-asset Cardinal has hired Orr Group, a Winston-Salem, N.C., investment bank to help identify potential buyers.

Cardinal, founded in 2001, has three branches in Durham, one in Hillsborough, and a commercial loan office in Durham.

According to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data, it earned $960,000 last year, up 30% from 2005. It reported a return on assets of 0.54%, up four basis points from the previous year, and a return on equity of 4.88%, up from 3.95% in 2005.

The bank has also been gaining market share in Durham County. At June 30 it had 4.48% of the county's deposits, up from 3.91% a year earlier.

Analysts told the Business Journal that possible suitors could include the $4.8 billion-asset First Charter Corp. in Charlotte and the $1.4 billion-asset Southern Community Financial Corp. in Winston-Salem.

John Mallard, Cardinal's chief executive officer, said he could not comment on market speculation.

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