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United acquires Northern Virginia bank

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United Bankshares strengthened its position in the Washington, D.C., market on Jan. 30 when it announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement with Virginia Commerce Bancorp Inc. in a $491 million transaction.

Virginia Commerce, which is headquartered in Arlington, Va., has $2.8 billion in assets and 28 banking offices, one residential mortgage origination office and one wealth management office. VCBI locations are in Washington's suburbs in Northern Virginia. With the VCBI acquisition, United's assets will grow to about $11.2 billion, according to a news release issued by United.

The acquisition is the latest in a trend of West Virginia-based banks buying banks in the growing, affluent Northern Virginia region.

It is United's first acquisition since it purchased Centra Financial Holdings of Morgantown for $185.4 million in 2010, and its first Virginia acquisition since it bought Premier Community Bankshares of Winchester, Va., for $200 million in 2007.

The deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. United will acquire 100 percent of the outstanding shares of VCBI in exchange for common shares of United. United will pay about $14 per share of VCBI stock, which is about 15 percent higher than the closing price on Jan. 29.

United expects the deal to close in the third quarter pending regulatory approvals and the approval of United's and VCBI's shareholders.

"We are very excited about our merger with VCBI, which creates the leading independent community bank operating throughout the most attractive markets in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. VCBI is a well-run banking franchise and will be a great partner for United," Richard M. Adams, United's chairman and CEO, said in the news release.

Once the transaction closed, United will hold the eighth-largest deposit market share position in the Washington, D.C., MSA, according to the news release. United currently has $8.4 billion in assets and 115 full-service offices in Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.