A West Virginia bank company is expanding its mortgage business in California by buying a loan company there.

City Holding Co., through its City National Bank of Charleston subsidiary, last week said it is buying First Allegiance Financial Corp., a Irvine, Calif.-based mortgage loan origination company.

First Allegiance, which is licensed in 27 states, originates home equityloans for sale to other parties.

"This is a fantastic chance to expand our West Coast operations," said John Alderman, general counsel for City Holdings.

City Holding operates City Mortgage Services, with offices in Charleston and Costa Mesa, Calif. City National said it has agreed to an initial price of about $15 million, a combination of 300,000 shares of City Holding common stock and cash.

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