National Commerce Of Tenn. in N.C. Deal

National Commerce Bancorp. in Memphis said Tuesday that it has a deal to buy Piedmont Bancorp in Hillsborough, N.C., for $34.5 million of stock.Piedmont, with $147 million of assets, is the parent of Hillsborough Savings Bank. The acquisition would give $7 billion-asset National Commerce an additional three branches in North Carolina and boost its assets in the state to $492 million.

Branches of Hillsborough Savings, which was founded in 1913, would operate as branches of National Commerce's North Carolina bank subsidiary, NBC Bank FSB. The deal is expected to close in the first or second quarter.

- Alan Kline

Thrift Forced to Set Vote on Exploring Sale

The shareholders of a $97 million-asset Missouri thrift will vote in three weeks whether to hire an investment banker to explore selling the company.Perry County Financial Corp. of Perryville will take the vote Jan. 19 at its annual meeting.

The vote comes as the result of a proxy filed by the Roosevelt Group LLC of St. Charles, Mo. Roosevelt Group and the affiliated Bradshaw Capital Management LLC of Pinehurst, N.C., together own 6.6% of the thrift's common stock, worth about $980,000.

In the proxy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, the Roosevelt Group bemoans that the thrift's stock has hovered at about $20 per share for four years. The thrift also has not generated more than a 5% return on shareholder equity since going public in mid-1995.

Perry County's five-member board of directors filed a statement in response to Roosevelt, saying that the thrift is always open to acquisition offers but does not want to create a "fire-sale atmosphere."

If shareholders pass the resolution, the board warns, potential acquirers might take advantage, believing that the board "has little bargaining power and could be pressured into accepting less advantageous financial terms."

- Craig Woker

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