United Community Banks announced that its subsidiary, United Community Bank, reached an agreement with Columbia, SC-based commercial lender Business Carolina (BCI) to acquire approximately $25 million of loans, $6 million of other assets and employ substantially all BCI employees.

The asset purchase transaction, which is expected to close within 60 days and is subject to Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture regulatory and state approvals, will allow United to significantly expand its tradition of funding small businesses.

“We have been looking for a partner to help fuel our efforts to become one of the leading small business lenders in the southeast, and this transaction with BCI is a perfect fit,” said Lynn Harton, United’s president and chief operating officer. “BCI was founded by the State of South Carolina as a vehicle for economic development and has a strong history of growth. We intend to carry on that tradition. United Community Bank is dedicated to small business lending, and we are pleased to continue BCI’s goal of putting funds in the hands of businesses and individuals who support our local economies.”

After the transaction, the staff will operate as a division of United Community Bank and under its trade name of BCI Lending in Columbia and throughout United’s footprint.