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First Financial to purchase BofA’s nine bank branches

US-based First Financial Bank has inked an agreement to purchase seven branches and two drive-up locations from Bank of America (BofA), subject to concerned regulatory approval.

The branches are located in the central and southern Illinois communities of Benton, Charleston, Hillsboro, Mattoon, Mount Vernon, Salem and West Frankfort.

Based on the terms of the deal, the lender will purchase $252m in deposits and $2.3m in small business loans, excluding credit card, mortgage, investment brokerage or trust accounts.

As part of the transaction, likely to be completed during the third quarter of 2013, most of the employees at these locations are expected to join First Financial.

First Financial board chairman Donald Smith said that the acquisition is in line with its long-term business expansion strategy, which will strengthen its existing footprint and boost regional presence in Illinois.

Established in 1834, First Financial Bank will have 37 branches in Illinois and 36 in Indiana, upon completion of the acquisition.

BofA serves through almost 5,500 retail banking offices and about 16,300 ATMs, according to the bank’s data as of November 2012.