Federal and state banking regulators openly called for a merger between two North Carolina community banks owned by the same private-equity consortium, according to regulatory filings.

Regulators' unusually vocal pressure on Piedmont Community Bank Holdings to hitch Crescent State Bank (CRFN) and VantageSouth Bank in a $35 million, all-stock deal announced in August was detailed in a preliminary proxy statement filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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