North American Financial Holdings Inc. is one step closer to having its flagship bank.

The bank holding company, which is backed by $900 million of equity from various investors, received approval Friday from the Federal Reserve to buy an 85% ownership stake in Capital Bank Corp. of Raleigh, N.C.

The deal calls for North American to invest $181 million into the $1.6 billion-asset company. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the month. North American has offices in Miami Lakes, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., and plans to use Capital as its platform as it rolls up Southeast acquisitions.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday, Capital said North American is no longer requiring a 50% discount to buy back the banking company's $41 million in preferred stock from the Troubled Asset Relief Program before closing the deal. North American, which had made the discount a condition of closing the purchase, would not comment on the Tarp amendment.

The filing also disclosed changes to employment agreements with top Capital executives that "clarify the roles of each officer after the closing … and limit the circumstances under which the officers are entitled to compensation related to a change in control."

When completed, the deal will mark North American's sixth acquisition since launching in December 2009. In the past year it has acquired a 99% stake in the $1.7 billion-asset TIB Financial Corp. in Naples, Fla. It also bought failed banks in Florida and South Carolina from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Christopher Marshall, North American's chief financial officer, said 2011 would be a similar blockbuster year as the company builds a regional Southeast bank.

"We are intent on filling in our footprint," he said in an interview. "We are pushing forward aggressively."

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