First Bank of Troy, N.C., picked up three branches and an insurance unit by acquiring Central State Bank of High Point in a $7 million cash deal.

First Bank, a $254-million-asset subsidiary of First Bancorp, now operates 29 branch offices in a nine-county market area centered in Troy, which is 60 miles east of Charlotte.

"We've bought branches and buildings before," said James Gunter, president of the nearly 70-year-old First Bank. "But this is the largest whole bank acquisition we've made. This puts us in a strong growth area."

First Bank bought 13,000 Central State common shares valued at $535 a share.

Changes as a result of the deal will be minimal, Mr. Gunter added. Patrick Meisky, president of the $37 million-asset Central State Bank will become regional president for First Bank, managing the High Point area.

As for the insurance service subsidiary of Central State, it will become a subsidiary of First Bank with its headquarters remaining in High Point.

It will provide its products and services throughout First Bank's markets, Mr. Gunter added.

First Bank's mortgage-lending function will also be headquartered in High Point.

"Both banks will continue to be based on their quality of service," Mr. Gunter said. "I don't anticipate any real changes, except in name."

Kirby Tyndall, First Bank's chief financial officer, said the bank opted for the all cash deal because the market value of First Bank's stock is close to its book value, making a stock swap too expensive and dilutive for its stockholders.

"Central State's merging with us should alleviate any administrative burdens it may have, allowing it to focus completely on customer service," Mr. Tyndall said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.