W.Va. merger designed to compete against bigger banks

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Premier Financial Bancorp in Huntington, W.Va., has agreed to buy First Bank of Charleston in West Virginia.

The $1.5 billion-asset Premier said in a press release Thursday that it will pay $33 million in cash and stock for the $189 million-asset First Bank of Charleston. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

First Bank will also be allowed to pay its investors a special dividend of $5 a share.

“While we have established commercial loan relationships in Charleston, our retail loan and deposit product offerings should enjoy a natural boost with the addition of First Bank,” Robert Walker, Premier’s president and CEO, said in the release.

“A Charleston-based retail presence will enable Premier … to compete head-to-head with the large out-of-state banking franchises that bought their way into the marketplace,” Walker added.

Baxter Fentriss advised Premier, while FIG Partners advised First Bank.

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