ATLANTA -- SunTrust Banks Inc. has agreed to acquire Flagler Bank Corp., West Palm Beach, Fla., for about $50 million, or 1.8 times book value.

Purchase of the $450 million-asset bank would increase SunTrust's share of deposits in Palm Beach County to 6% from 4%.

Following regulatory and shareholder approvals, Flagler will become part of SunBank/South Florida, the SunTrust subsidiary based in Fort Lauderdale.

SunTrust agreed to acquire Flagler in a stock swap valued at $19.75 a share. SunTrust was trading later Friday at $39.50 a share, its Thursday closing price.

Flagler, trading at $17.25 a share at Thursday's close, rose above $18 Friday morning.

Not a Surprise

The Friday announcement was no surprise, as SunTrust already owned 4% of Flagler's stock and was considered the most likely potential acquirer.

SunTrust acquired its Flagler shares through foreclosure proceedings. The shares had been held as collateral on a loan.

The Flagler announcement continues a recent spate of modest acquisitions by SunTrust, a $34 billion-asset bank holding company based in Atlanta.

In August, it agreed to acquire HomeTrust Bank of Georgia, Gainesville, with $310 million in assets.

Building Market Share

Earlier this month, SunTrust announced plans to buy $370 million-asset First United Bancorp in Florence, Ala., and Coast Bank in Sarasota, Fla., which had $1.1 billion in assets.

In all cases, SunTrust purchased institutions that gave it significant market share in those particular locales.

Flagler is the holding company for Flagler National Bank, which was founded in 1974 and has 15 branches in Palm Beach and Martin counties.

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