A $153.7 million-asset Texas thrift is planning its first acquisition ever -- a $6 million deal for a smaller thrift in a nearby town.

East Texas Financial Services Inc. of Tyler plans to complete the acquisition of $38 million-asset Gilmer (Tex.) Financial Services Inc. in the first quarter of 2000. Gilmer Financial, located 35 miles from East Texas' headquarters, is the parent company of the one-branch Gilmer Savings Bank.

After the deal's completion, the Gilmer location will become the third full-service banking location of East Texas Financial.

The larger thrift also owns two loan agency offices.

East Texas expects to slash 40% of Gilmer's expenses in the first year after the deal is completed, and it says it can do so without layoffs. -- Craig Woker

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