TROY, N.C. - First Bancorp said it would buy four branches in central North Carolina from First Union National Bank of Charlotte.

The branches would add $105 million of deposits and $19 million of consumer loans to $591 million-asset First's tallies. The price of the deal was not disclosed; it is expected to close in the first quarter.

The purchase would build First Bancorp's presence in Scotland and Robeson counties and increase its branch total to 41, the company said. First, the parent company of First Bank, said it plans to retain all the employees of the acquired branches.

First Union's agreement to sell the branches was its second this week. It said on Monday that it would sell six offices in North Carolina and Virginia to Citizens Bank of Raleigh, N.C.

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