Regions Financial Corp. agreed Tuesday to buy Etowah Bank of Canton, Ga., for $177.4 million in stock.

Regions, which has $22.2 billion of assets, said $432 million-asset Etowah Bank will add about $373 million of deposits and 18 branches to its Atlanta-area franchise. Regions has been focusing on growth in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.

The deal, valued at about 4.1 times Etowah Bank's book value, calls for Regions to exchange 3.3127 shares of its common stock for each share of Etowah Bank. The merger is to close in the second quarter.

Including the Etowah Bank deal, Regions has seven mergers pending: three in South Carolina, two in Georgia, one in Florida, and one in Louisiana. In all, the deals represent $2.4 billion of assets. The mergers are expected to be completed by midyear.

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