Accredited Home Lenders ( LEND), a subprime mortgage lender, rose after saying it plans to acquire fellow home-loan provider Aames Investment ( AIC).

The stock-and-cash transaction values Aames at around $340 million, or $5.35 a share. Of the purchase price, roughly $109 million, or 32% of the total, will be paid in cash. Shares of Aames lost 36 cents, or 6.3%, to $5.36. Accredited gained $1.35, or 2.6%, to $53.29.

Alabama National BanCorporation ( ALAB) agreed to buy PB Financial Services in a deal that will merge two Southeastern banks.

Alabama National will issue roughly 1.9 million common shares and share equivalents to Peachtree's stockholders. Based on Alabama National's Wednesday closing price, the deal is worth about $128.2 million. Shares of Alabama National rose $1.02, or 1.5%, to $68.50.

Regions Financial ( RF) disclosed plans to acquire another Alabama-based bank, AmSouth ( ASO), for $9.8 billion in stock.

The deal will create the 10th largest bank in the U.S., with $140 billion in assets. Regions will exchange $28.33 worth of stock for each AmSouth share. AmSouth closed Wednesday at $28.90, and its shares fell 90 cents, or 3.1%, to $28 after the deal was announced. Regions lost $1.09, or 3.1%, to $34.44.

Wachovia ( WB) edged higher after Prudential upgraded the bank to neutral from underweight. Shares of Wachovia were up 23 cents, or 0.4%, to $53.26.

Heritage Financial Group ( HBOS), a bank holding company, said its board approved a stock repurchase program to fund the restricted stock portion of its 2006 equity incentive plan.

Heritage plans to buy back up to 220,328 shares from time to time, depending on market conditions, in open-market or privately negotiated transactions. The authorized share repurchases represent about 2% of the company's stock outstanding. Shares of Heritage rose 47 cents, or 3.8%, to $13.

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