Carolina First Corp. has a deal to buy Poinsett Financial Corp. of Travelers Rest, S.C., for $15.6 million in stock. The sale is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.

The deal would give the $2.3 billion-asset company its first presence in what is known as the Rock Hill area of South Carolina.

Greenville-based Carolina First "has been interested in entering the Rock Hill market for quite some time," said Mack Whittle Jr., president and chief executive officer.

Poinsett is the parent of Poinsett Bank, a three-branch thrift with $90 million of assets.

Carolina First has 61 branches in the state.

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