NBT Bancorp (NBTB), a significant player in community banking, inked a deal to acquire Alliance Financial Corp., merging the two firms into a platform that will expand NBT's footprint by adding Alliance's 28 banking locations in central New York.

The merger is valued at $233.4 million and could close as early as the second quarter of 2013.

Both of the firms' shareholders still have to approve the deal.

Norwich, New York-based NBT had about $6 billion in assets as of June 30, 2012.

Under the deal, NBT will gain $1.4 billion in assets, including $890 million in net loans held for investment and $1.1 billion in additional deposits.

"We believe this combination will create significant value for Alliance shareholders, both immediately and longer term," said Jack Webb, current chairman, president and CEO of Alliance.

"Furthermore, we're confident that the banking philosophy shared by NBT and Alliance will ensure that our customers will continue to receive high-quality service from a bank that thinks and acts locally."

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