The planned merger of two North Carolina community banks is on hold while authorities investigate stock purchases by one bank's former leader.

Carolina First Bancshares, based in Lincolnton, said last spring it would buy Community Bank and Trust in Marion for $32 million. But the Federal Reserve Board has delayed the purchase while it looks into a charge that D. Mark Boyd 3d, Carolina First's former chairman, began buying Community Bank and Trust shares five months before the deal was announced.

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