A South Florida community bank is buying a nearby investment brokerage.

Southern Security Bank Corp., Hollywood, and First Colonial Securities Group Inc., Boca Raton, said they have signed a letter of intent for Southern to buy all the outstanding stock of privately held Colonial.

The deal is valued at roughly $17.5 million. A definitive agreement is expected next month.

Southern, founded in 1992, is a $25 million-asset bank with two offices. First Colonial, founded in 1989, operates 20 offices in 12 states.

Originally based in Philadelphia, the brokerage moved its headquarters to South Florida in August.

The deal, approved by both boards of directors in January, was made after the parties were introduced by a cellular phone provider who did business with both companies.

"Less than two months later, we had a deal on the table," said James L. Wilson, chief executive officer of Southern Security. "This deal provides us tremendous cross-selling and fee-income opportunities."

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