Mid-Atlantic Investors, the Columbia, S.C.-based partnership that has taken aggressive positions in thrifts throughout the Southeast, has boosted its stake in its hometown bank, Comsouth Bancshares.

Mid-Atlantic bought another 12,427 shares in Comsouth in recent weeks, raising its stake to 7.7%, it revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week.

Jerry Shearer, managing partner of the partnership, knows the company well - he was Comsouth's chief financial officer until as recently as 1992, a director until 1993, and still serves as a director of a subsidiary, Bank of Charleston. He is also a customer of the bank.

"The Bank of Columbia has moved into the profitability column in a big way here," he said, referring to Comsouth's other subsidiary. "And we thought that now is a good time to increase our stake."

The SEC filing indicates that Mr. Shearer might not be a passive investor. It states that the purpose of the transaction is to "take actions which may enhance the value of the securities as an investment." He could also acquire additional stock in the company, it said.

Nevertheless, Comsouth officials did not sound alarmed by the investment.

"We go way back with Jerry and have had a good relationship with him over the years," said Bank of Charleston chief executive Arthur P. Swanson. "We still consider him an ally and don't expect anything negative to come of this."

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