National Commerce Bancorp of Memphis, Tenn. has agreed to merge with CCB Financial Corp. of Durham, N.C. in a stock deal worth approximately $1.9 billion.

The deal would create an institution with $15 billion of assets. The merged bank, which would retain the National Commerce name, would be the 47th-largest in the United States.

Administrative headquarters would remain in Memphis and Durham would be the bank's operational hub.

The merger is expected to reduce operating expenses by $50 million annually, or 12% of the banks' combined expense base.

Thomas M. Garrott, chairman and chief executive officer of NCBC, will be chairman of the combined company; Ernest C. Roessler, chairman and chief executive officer of CCB Financial, would be chief executive officer.

Under terms of the deal, CCB shareholders are to receive 2.45 shares of NCBC common stock for each CCB share. The transaction will be a tax-free exchange and will be accounted for as a pooling-of-interests.

Both banks' boards of directors have approved the deal. Pending regulatory approval, the deal should close in the third quarter.

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