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Regulators OK WashingtonFirst’s acqusition of Alliance

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A shareholder vote is the last remaining hurdle for WashingtonFirst Bank’s acquisition of Alliance Bankshares Corp. after regulators cleared the companies’ merger plans.

The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Virginia State Corporation Commission have each signed off on the $24.4 million deal, the companies announced on Tuesday. Reston-based WashingtonFirst’s and Chantilly-based Alliance’s shareholders are scheduled to vote on the merger during special meetings scheduled for the third week in December.

Should all parties approve, the deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

“We are thrilled to be able to add Alliance’s valuable Northern Virginia franchise to our growing footprint in the Washington metropolitan area,” Shaza Andersen said in a statement following the initial purchase agreement in May.

This is the second time in a year Alliance has cleared regulators to be absorbed by another bank in the region. But early this past December, Eagle Bancorp, EagleBank’s parent headquartered in Bethesda, abandoned its plans to purchase an ailing Alliance for $31.2 million, with both sides citing irreconcilable differences.

There were “some points around which we simply couldn’t get,” Alliance President and CEO William Doyle Jr. said shortly following the breakup.

Alliance suffered a steep fall during the height of the recession, and even as the economy and the company’s own margins began turning back around, the bank bid goodbye to its chief executive and chairman in May 2010. The company began searching for buyers less than a year later.

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