Southern National Corp. has agreed to purchase 60% of the common stock of a Raleigh-based call center services firm for $10.25 million.

Under terms of the deal, Southern National's Branch Banking and Trust Co. unit will acquire the shares of Customer Access Resources Inc.

The $20 billion-asset Southern National has purchased shares in a number of financial industry service companies, including Raleigh-based Nexus Software Inc.; Goddard Technologies Inc. of Greenville, S.C.; and Farr Associates Inc. of Greensboro, N.C.

Founded in 1993, Customer Access specializes in running 24-hour call center operations for financial institutions.

Customer Access, which would continue to operate under its current name as an autonomous subsidiary of Branch Banking and Trust, will retain about 40% of its common shares.

"More and more, the financial industry is offering banking services over the telephone, which many clients prefer because it's convenient and easy," said Southern National chairman and chief executive John A. Allison. "This investment ... acknowledges the company's potential to fulfill a critical need in the banking industry."

The deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and should be completed in the third quarter, pending regulatory approval.

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