In the course of a month, North Carolina's Triangle Bancorp inked three mergers that will double its size.

The latest deal came on Monday with an agreement to acquire Whiteville, N.C.-based Columbus National Bank, which will propel Triangle's assets to more than $600 million.

"I think we' re through for the time being," said Michael S. Patterson, president and chief executive of Triangle.

Mr. Patterson explained that Triangle had been in merger discussions with the three'banks for some time.

"We just wanted to get all the legal, regulatory, and accounting issues done at once," he said.

The latest deal for Columbus National is a $13 million stock transaction which will add $55 million in assets and four branches.

Earlier this month, Raleigh-based Triangle announced merger deals with Standard Bank and Trust Co. of Dunn, N.C., and with Atlantic Community Bancorp in Rocky Mount, N.C.

When the deals are completed in the second. quarter of next year, Triangle's assets will have jumped from $303 million now to $612 million, making it the 10th-largest bank in North Carolina.

Though taking a break, Mr. Patterson said Triangle was not done growing.

He said the bank would continue to seek potential partners and be open to acquisition opportunities.

"Probably the latter part of next year we'll look to do some more transactions," he said.

In particular, Mr. Pagerson predicts BB&T Financial Corp. will likely divest a number of branches in North Carolina as a result of its merger with Southern National Corp., both because of over concentration of branches and the possibility of antitrust issues.

"We fully intend to bid on those branches," he said.

Despite the fast growth, Mr. Patterson said Triangle's capital position should remain well above minimum requirements.

"Our capital projections currently put us well above standards," he said. "So we shouldn't have any problems there."

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