Virginia's Union Bankshares would gain $90 million of deposits with its plan to buy seven branches from Signet Banking Corp.

"This acquisition will enable us to extend our franchise throughout the entire Northern Neck area," said G. William Beale, president and chief executive officer of Union, a $570 million-asset holding company in Bowling Green, Va. The area includes part of the lucrative metropolitan Washington market.

Richmond-based Signet announced in June that it was selling 39 branches as part of a restructuring plan. In July, $144 billion-asset First Union Corp., Charlotte, N.C., announced it would acquire the $11.9 billion-asset Signet. The deal is to close by yearend. Officials said Union's acquisition won't be affected by Signet's sale to First Union. Signet offered the seven branches as a package and would not sell them individually.

However, Mr. Beale said that to receive regulatory approval for the purchase, Union will probably have to sell two of the Signet branches to remain within limits on deposit market share.

The five remaining branches will be operated by two of Union's affiliate banks, Northern Neck State Bank and King George State Bank. The branch acquisitions are expected to close by February.

Union operates three banks from Richmond east along the Potomac River to Chesapeake Bay.

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