Republic Bancorp Inc. in Louisville is exiting the Bowling Green, Ky., market and selling its branch there to a local rival.

The $3.4 billion-asset company said Thursday that branch would be sold to Citizens First Bank, which is headquartered in Bowling Green and already has eight other branches in south central Kentucky. By contrast, the bulk of Republic's branch network is in northern Kentucky, though it also has operations in Indiana, Ohio and Florida. In a news release, Republic President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Trager said the deal "enables Republic to deploy its capital more efficiently in order to achieve its long-term growth and performance objectives."

Republic would retain some of the loans but would sell all of the deposits. In all, the $395 million-asset Citizens would gain $35 million of deposits and $14.5 million of loans. The sale is expected to close in August.

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