A new bank holding company called Commonwealth Banks, Inc., will be formed when Central National Corp. of Richmond merges with Fidelity American Bankshares of Lynchburg next year.

But the present names will remain on all of the 123 offices of the eight banking institutions that will be owned by the new company.

The boards of directors of the two holding companies yesterday ratified the agreement to merge that had been worked out by their executive committees a month ago.

Details of the merger was revealed by Alvin R. Clements, president of Central National and Carroll L. Saine, president of Fidelity American.

After the merger, Clements, as chairman, will be responsible for operations and administration at the corporate level and will also continue to run Fidelity American.

Saine, as president, will be in charge of loans and investments and running the Central National affiliates.

The holding company headquarters will be in Richmond, with the two principal banks, Central National of Richmond and Fidelity American of Lynchburg, maintaining their offices there.

The merger still requires stockholder approval and the blessing of bank regulators: it is expected to be completed late next year, the chief executives said.

With assets of $1.5 billion, the merged bank will be the sixth largest in Virginia.