Premier Bancshares in Atlanta said it has a deal to buy North Fulton Bancshares of Roswell, Ga., for $38.5 million in stock.

North Fulton has $191 million of assets and operates Buckhead Bank, in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood, and Milton National Bank, in nearby Roswell. For two years Milton National has been Georgia's top Small Business Administration lender by volume.

The two banks would retain their names. Grant R. Essex, president of North Fulton, said the deal would help them compete with regional banks and other financial services companies.

Premier has 40 offices in Atlanta and the surrounding area. The deal, expected to close in the third quarter, would boost Premier's assets to $1.6 billion.

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