1st Virginia Buying 7 Signet Branches in Va., Md

Article excerpt

First Virginia Banks Inc. has agreed to buy seven Signet Banking Corp. branches and $150 million of deposits for an undisclosed sum as Richmond, Va.-based Signet prepares for its absorption by First Union Corp.

The branches, on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia, would expand First Virginia's regional presence. The $9 billion-asset Falls Church, Va., company already operates 12 branches along the Eastern Shore.

"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to increase our presence on the Eastern Shore and to give our customers the added convenience of seven new branches and eight ATMs," Barry J. Fitzpatrick, First Virginia chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We're also pleased to welcome the customers and the very professional staff members of those branches to our organization."

The seven Signet branches are in Mappsville, Va., and in the Maryland towns of Cambridge, Chestertown, Easton, and Salisbury. First Virginia operates 309 offices in Virginia, 56 offices in Maryland, and 25 offices in eastern Tennessee. The acquisition is slated to close in February.

The move by Signet to sell the branches is the first step in what probably will be widespread branch sales and closings in the state, observers said. …