HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Shareholders of First Sentry Bancshares Inc. voted Friday to approve a merger with WesBanco Inc., a deal expected to close by the middle of this year.

A plan of merger between the two banks was reached last November. Ninety-nine percent of First Sentry Bancshares shareholders voted Friday in favor of the merger, which will result in all banks transitioning into WesBanco locations.

“This is an historic day for First Sentry Bank as it represents one of the last formal steps in the transition into WesBanco, a banking force in West Virginia and the surrounding region,” said Robert Beymer, First Sentry board chairman.

First Sentry Bancshares is located in Huntington, while WesBanco’s headquarters is in Wheeling. WesBanco has locations in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kentucky.

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