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FIRST CITIZENS BANCSHARES PLANS TO BUY WEST VIRGINIA BANK

 RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- First Citizens BancShares, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: FCNCA) plans to acquire Bank of Marlinton, a full- service commercial bank located in Marlinton, W. Va., according to James B. Hyler Jr., BancShares' president.
 Subject to completion of due diligence, regulatory approvals and the execution of a definitive acquisition agreement, BancShares will acquire Bank of Marlinton in the third quarter of 1994.
 Bank of Marlinton has $51 million in assets, $46 million in deposits and two offices in Pocahontas County towns of Marlinton and Arbovale. The bank's management, including Chairman Lanty F. McNeel, staff and board would remain in place, Hyler said.
 According to Hyler, the purchase of the West Virginia financial institution provides BancShares with an opportunity to explore other markets outside of North Carolina, where its wholly owned subsidiary First Citizens Bank operates. "We view this acquisition as both an investment and an opportunity," he said. "There are certain similarities in Bank of Marlinton's market with some of the smaller community markets we serve in North Carolina, and this is a good way for our holding company to test the waters outside of our state's borders."
 Hyler added that the proposed acquisition in no way lessens First Citizens Bank's commitment to serving the financial needs of the people and businesses of North Carolina. "First Citizens' goal is to be the best bank in North Carolina," he said. "This investment opportunity for our holding company does not alter that vision."
 McNeel said he believed Bank of Marlinton would be well served by affiliation with First Citizens BancShares. "The holding company operates one of the safest and soundest banks in the United States, and they are very successful in North Carolina, which is one of the most competitive banking environments in the country," he said. "Their conservative operating philosophies and emphasis on excellence and customer service mesh well with our own strategies."
 Hyler said Bank of Marlinton would for the foreseeable future retain a separate identity from First Citizens Bank and would operate as a completely separate wholly owned subsidiary of BancShares.
 First Citizens BancShares Inc. is a Delaware-chartered corporation with headquarters in Raleigh. It is the holding company of First Citizens Bank, North Carolina's fifth largest, with assets of $5.9 billion and 316 offices in 181 towns and cities. First Citizens has served North Carolina since 1898.
 -0- 1/13/94
 /CONTACT: Noel McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of First Citizens, 919-755-2716 or Robert L. Mann, Executive Vice President of Bank of Marlinton, 304-799-4306/
 (FCNCA)


CO: First Citizens BancShares: First Citizens Bank; Bank of Marlinton ST: North Carolina, West Virginia IN: FIN SU: TNM

MB -- CH009 -- 1862 01/13/94 15:58 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 13, 1994
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