United Parcel Service Inc. plans to take another big step into the banking world, saying Tuesday that it will pay $78 million to buy First International Bancorp, a company in Hartford, Conn., that specializes in government-backed lending for small and midsize companies.

The stock deal, which is expected to close next quarter, would push UPS further along the financial services path it embarked on in 1998 when it created its UPS Capital Corp. division, which provides financing packages for companies.

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