Irvine City Bank, a small savings and loan, confirmed Friday that it has reached a tentative agreement to be purchased by a St. Louis banking company for nearly $4.2 million, or $12 a share.
The thrift is the third Orange County financial institution to agree to be acquired by First Banks Inc.
The Missouri company, which operates banks and savings and loans in Missouri, Texas and Illinois, wants to build a large banking operation in Orange County through acquisitions.
First Banks already has pending a $32.5-million offer for Commercial Center Bank in Santa Ana and an $11.8-million deal with Huntington National Bank in Huntington Beach. The three acquisitions would give First Banks an Orange County institution with more than $485 million in loans and other assets.
William S. Smith, Irvine City Bank's president, called the proposed conglomerate a "tremendous boon" to county businesses and consumers.
James F. Dierberg, First Banks' chairman, said that he is looking past the county's current bankruptcy woes and thinks Orange County will "continue to be a great place to live, work and invest during the next decade and beyond."