Virginia National Bank announced an agreement yesterday to purchase the New Bank of Rkoanoke and merge it with the Norfolk-based bank at a purchase price between $1 million and $1.5 million.

W. Wright Harrison, chairman of Virginia National Bank, the state's largest bank, said the merger with New Bank will give Virginia National access to all of the state's major markets: Northern Virginia, Tidewater, Richmond, Lynchburg and Roanoke.

"Now that we have this opportunity to gain access to this market, we intend to vigorously compete for a larger market share through the establishment of additional facilities for the convenience of the people of the Roanoke Valley and the flourishing business community," Harrison said.

New Bank announced Wednesday that it had repaid the 5,000 mostly elderly and reired people who had deposited more than $10 million in the defunct Roanoke Industrial Loan and Thrift Co., which was closed five years ago because of financial difficulties.

Harrison said the merger and New Bank's repayments were not connected, but but he added, "I don't think that we would have wanted to do that (purchade it ) until they were through" with the repayments.

"With this task completed, we are pleased to sell our New Bank," said Hovey S. Dabny, chairman of the NB Corp. of Charlottesville. New Bank was started after the failure of Roanoke Industrial.

On Sept. 30 New Bank reported total assets of $11,755,000 with total deposits of $10,574,000 while Virginia National Bank reported resources of $2,282,235,000 and deposits of $1,941,283,000.

Virginia National's acquisition will increase its offices by three to 153 and the communities in which offices are located from 60 to 61.