Providence, R.I.-based Citizens Financial Group plans to increase its commercial lending in the southwestern tier of Connecticut with its fourth acquisition in the Nutmeg State in four years.

The $16 billion-asset bank said Tuesday that it had agreed to buy BNH Bancshares, which owns Bank of New Haven, for $57.2 million in cash.

The deal is valued at 2.16 times BNH's tangible book value.

BNH, one of the last independent commercial banks in Connecticut, would bring Citizens a small bank that has some retail operations and a strong focus on commercial lending. Bank of New Haven also operates an indirect lending unit.

Citizens, owned by Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and Bank of Ireland, has bought 11 banks in New England since 1992.

"It rounds out our franchise in the state very nicely," said Lawrence K. Fish, Citizens' chairman, chief executive officer, and president.

BNH, with $342 million of assets and 11 branches, would merge into Citizens' Connecticut banking unit, which has 30 offices.

After the merger, Citizens would have 250 branches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

The deal, which would exchange $15.50 in cash for each BNH share, is expected to close during the summer, the companies said. Regulatory approval is required.

It is unclear whether there would be a position for BNH's president and chief executive officer, F. Patrick McFadden, in the merged bank, Mr. Fish said. That decision will be made in the next few weeks, he added.

Citizens' acquisition spree began five years ago with the purchase of Plymouth Five Cent Savings Bank in Massachusetts. Since then, Citizens has cut a swath westward across New England, gobbling up smaller competitors.

Just last month, Citizens completed a $9 million agreement to buy Grove Bank, an $800 million-asset institution in Boston.

Citizens has quadrupled in assets since 1992, according to the company, mostly through acquisitions of thrifts.

"We were very anxious to get this opportunity to balance out our other acquisitions of savings banks," said Mr. Fish.

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