Joining the stampede into Virginia, United Bankshares of Parkersburg, W.Va., on Thursday announced plans to merge with Fairfax-based George Mason Bankshares.

The stock-swap deal, valued at $215 million, would create a bank with $3.5 billion of assets, $2.7 billion of deposits, and a solid foothold in the hotly contested Northern Virginia market. The merger is expected to close in the first quarter of 1998.

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