SUFFOLK, Va. and RICHMOND, Va., July 15, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hampton Roads-based TowneBank (Nasdaq:TOWN) and Richmond-based Franklin Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:FRNK) today announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which TowneBank will acquire Franklin. "Our Towne family is humbled and excited to join hands with a legendary company that has served the greater Richmond community for over 80 years," said G. Robert Aston, Jr., Chairman and CEO of TowneBank. "Since the founding of Towne in my home garage fifteen years ago, we have built our company around the values of "serving others and enriching lives" while striving to build a great community asset. We consider it a wonderful privilege to expand our business to Richmond and we are grateful to Rick Wheeler and our friends at Franklin for the invitation to join with them." Richard T. Wheeler, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO of Franklin added, "we are extremely pleased and excited to be joining forces with such a consistently profitable, rapidly growing and well regarded banking institution. I expect this combination to provide appreciable long-term value for our respective shareholders, and it will enable the combined institution to provide a much greater line of products to Franklin Federal's current customers. We have respected Bob Aston and his team for many years and admired TowneBank's ability to not only succeed, but to excel. Since its opening in 1999, TowneBank has grown to be the largest community bank and the third largest bank in Hampton Roads, and we expect similar growth in the Richmond market. Furthermore, we share similar values towards employees, customers, communities and shareholders, so our cultures should blend smoothly." Based on financials reported on March 31, 2014, the combined companies would have total assets of $5.9 billion, deposits of $4.1 billion and loans of $3.8 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, common shareholders of Franklin will receive 1.40 shares of TowneBank common stock for each share of Franklin. This implies a deal value per share of $23.04 or approximately $275 million based on TowneBank's closing stock price of $16.46 on Monday, July 14, 2014.