NEW ORLEANS - First Commerce Corp. said it has agreed to acquire Peoples Bancshares and its subsidiary, Peoples Bank & Trust Company of St. Bernard, for $30.6 million in stock.

Peoples Bancshares has $170 million of assets, $152 million of deposits and eight offices. It will be merged into First National Bank of Commerce, First Commerce's New Orleans bank.

The deal will give First NBC 29% of the market in St. Bernard Parish.

First Commerce said it will cut expenses by $4.4 million after the merger by closing four of Peoples' eight branches and one First NBC branch. Additional savings are expected from consolidating back office functions, the bank said.

Excluding one-time merger charges, this acquisition is expected to be accretive in the first full year. One-time merger charges are currently estimated at $4 million to $5 million.

The deal, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, is expected to close in the third quarter.

First Commerce has assets of $6.9 billion.

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