United Community Bank (UCBI) in Georgia is expanding its Small Business Administration funding by acquiring a portion of Business Carolina's (BCI) operations.

The $7.4 billion-asset United said Thursday that it will roughly $25 million of loans and $6 million of other assets from the Columbia, S.C., commercial lender. United said in a news release that it will retain nearly all of BCI Lending employees.

The deal is expected to close within two months, pending regulatory approvals.

"BCI Lending is excited to partner with United Community Bank to continue to protect the interest of small business owners and provide the same flexibility and financing options we have always offered our customers," said Michael Sandusky, chief executive of Business Carolina.

United also announced that it has hired veteran SBA lender Richard Bradshaw to head its SBA and U.S. Department of Agriculture lending operations. The bank also brought in three SBA lending specialists — Annemarie Murphy, Frank Gallagher, and Jeff Roegg — who will target specific niches including franchises, professionals and manufacturing, inside and outside of United's footprint.

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