First Citizens BancShares Inc. of Raleigh is planning to open its first Washington branch.

The $16.7 billion-asset company said it had filed an application to open a branch at 1717 Pennsylvania Ave. and that it expects to open the branch by mid-2009.

First Citizens has been in Virginia since 1995. It has branches in northern Virginia cities such as Tysons Corner, Fredericksburg, and Leesburg.

The company said on Oct. 30 that it planned to roll IronStone Bank into its First Citizens Bank, largely because it now had branches in states where it wants them. It had used the thrift charter to maneuver around certain interstate branching regulations.

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