Crestar Financial Corp. expanded its empire to the north on Friday by agreeing to buy Loyola Capital Corp. of Baltimore, a $2.5 billion-asset thrift company, for $259.2 million in stock.

Crestar, which is based in Richmond, Va., said the "binding agreement" calls for it to pay $32 per Loyola share, or 1.5 times the thrift's book value.

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