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 RALEIGH, N.C., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- First Citizens BancShares, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCNCA) today finalized the acquisition of Rocky Mount- based Pioneer Bancorp, Inc., according to James B. Hyler Jr., First Citizens president.
 First Citizens acquired all 1,764,821 outstanding shares of Pioneer for $2.18 in cash for a total transaction price of $3.8 million. Original terms of the agreement provided for First Citizens to pay $2 per share, subject to a limited price increase if Pioneer divested its mortgage origination operation and certain foreclosed properties.
 As a result of the transaction, First Citizens acquired about $232 million in deposits, $290 million in assets and 13 Pioneer Savings Bank branches, including three new market areas of Bladen, Columbus and Dare counties. The bank strengthens existing markets in the eight counties of Nash, Franklin, Brunswick, Halifax, Hertford, Vance, Martin and Wake.
 Service to Pioneer's customers will continue without interruption. Thirteen of the 17 offices acquired by First Citizens will open as First Citizens Bank offices Friday, Sept. 24. These include: three offices in Rocky Mount and one office in Bladenboro, Chadbourn, Elizabethtown, Kill Devil Hills, Louisburg, Shallotte, Weldon, Wendell, Scotland Neck and Whiteville. First Citizens will move its Rocky Mount main office from Church Street to the Pioneer location on Franklin Street because of its close proximity and more desirable building and location. The bank also will move its Weldon main office on Washington Avenue to the Pioneer location on East Third Street for similar reasons.
 Pioneer offices in Ahoskie, Henderson, Roanoke Rapids and Williamston will not open; business will be consolidated with existing First Citizens branches in these towns.
 Mount Olive-based Southern Bank purchased two Pioneer branches in Murfreesboro and Windsor.
 According to Hyler, the acquisition allows First Citizens to strengthen and expand its presence in Eastern North Carolina, a region that has long played an important role in the bank's overall market strategy.
 Hyler pledged to make the transition for Pioneer customers as smooth as possible. "All of Pioneer's customer-contact employees are being retained by First Citizens, so customers will be able to continue to work with the same banking professionals who have served them," he said. First Citizens also is continuing Pioneer's popular Senior Club for qualified customers.
 Raleigh-based First Citizens Bank, the wholly owned subsidiary of First Citizens BancShares, is a $5.4 billion statewide full-service financial institution that operates 318 offices in 180 North Carolina towns and cities.
 -0- 9/23/93
 /CONTACT: Noel McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of First Citizens BancShares, 919-755-2716/

CO: First Citizens BancShares, Inc.; Pioneer Bancorp, Inc.; First
 Citizens Bank ST: North Carolina IN: FIN SU: TNM

CM-FL -- CH009 -- 5266 09/23/93 13:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 23, 1993

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