Meridian Bancorp in Boston has agreed to buy Meetinghouse Bancorp in Dorchester, Mass.

The $4.6 billion-asset Meridian said in a press release Monday that it will pay $17.8 million in cash for the $118 million-asset Meetinghouse. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Meetinghouse has two branches, $80 million in loans and $99 million in deposits.

“This acquisition will enable us to continue growing our core banking franchise in the lucrative Boston market area,” Richard Gavegnano, Meridian’s chairman, president and CEO, said in the release. “We have been looking for an opportunity to expand our presence in the Dorchester and Roslindale markets.”

Meridian said it expects the deal to be 2%-3% accretive to its earnings per share, largely as a result of consolidation efficiencies. The company said it should take a “manageable period of time” to earn back the deal’s “slight dilution to tangible book value.”

Meridian was advised by Piper Jaffray and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton. Meetinghouse was advised by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Nutter McClennen & Fish.

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