First National Bank of Pennsylvania is diving into insurance with a deal for an agency.

The Hermitage-based bank, a subsidiary of $3.4 billion-asset FNB Corp., announced plans last week to buy Meadville-based Gelvin, Jackson & Starr for $4.25 million. The deal, already approved by shareholders, could close within a month.

Stephen J. Gurgovits, First National's president and chief executive officer, said the bank plans to invest in the 137-year-old agency to build sales and fee income.

"Like a lot of banks we want to grow to be a one-stop financial institution," Mr. Gurgovits said.

Mr. Gurgovits' first encounter with Gelvin Jackson came early last year.

The agency was moving its banking business to First National, and Mr. Gurgovits, who likes to meet new commercial customers, was introduced to the agency's president and chief executive, Stephen F. Hunter.

During the meeting the two discussed the growing opportunities for banks to sell insurance.

When the bank later became committed to building an insurance program, Mr. Gurgovits said, Gelvin Jackson became the prime candidate after a six- month search. The deal gives First National access to personal and property and casualty insurance lines.

"We were very concerned that we find a company that was committed to customer service," he said, because mishandled insurance claims could sour customers on the bank.

Mr. Gurgovits said he plans to have Gelvin Jackson agents familiarize bank employees with insurance and the agency after Labor Day. The agency will begin making sales calls on the bank's commercial customers soon afterward, he said.

The agents will also sell bank products to Gelvin Jackson's 3,000 commercial customers and 10,000 households, Mr. Gurgovits said.

Mr. Hunter said the biggest benefit to the agency would be access to new capital. He said the agency would upgrade its automated sales system and make other investments.

The bank said it plans no management change at the agency, which has 37 full-time employees, five offices, and relationships with 24 insurance carriers.

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