Tuesday, November 30, 2021

First National in Omaha to enter Wyo. via acquisition

Lauritzen Corp. has agreed to buy Western States BanCorp. in Laramie, Wyo.

Lauritzen, the parent of the $25.7 billion-asset First National Bank of Omaha, did not disclose the price it will pay for the $542 million-asset Western States. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

Western States has 10 branches and $486 million of deposits in northern Colorado, western Nebraska and southeastern Wyoming. 

First National “has a long, proud history of merging with financial institutions that share similar core values, ways of doing business and approaches to serving customers and communities,” Clark Lauritzen, chairman and president of the company that bears his name, said in a statement on the bank’s website.

Western States “complements these ideals, and we’re excited for the possibilities to expand our banking services into Wyoming while enhancing our presence in northern Colorado and western Nebraska,” Lauritzen added. 

Piper Sandler and Kutak Rock advised First National. Olsen Palmer and Baird Holm advised Western States.

Ion in Connecticut to acquire Lincoln Park in N.J.

Ion Financial in Naugatuck, Conn., has agreed to buy Lincoln Park Bancorp in Pine Brook, N.J.

The $1.7 billion-asset Ion said in a press release last week that the $300 million-asset Lincoln 1st Bank will merge into its Ion Bank. The acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, will expand Ion’s footprint into northern New Jersey. 

Lincoln Park’s minority shareholders will receive about $7.5 million in cash, subject to adjustment based on certain loans. The mutual holding company will be dissolved. 

Philip Vaz, the co-president and chief operating officer of Lincoln 1st Bank, will become Ion’s New Jersey regional president. Erik Terpstra, Lincoln 1st’s co-president and chief financial officer, will join Ion as director of risk. 

One Lincoln Park director will join Ion’s board of trustees.

Ion said it expects the merger to be accretive to its tangible capital and earnings.

"We're excited to welcome Lincoln 1st Bank to the Ion Bank family," David Rotatori, Ion Bank’s president and CEO, said in the release.

"Both banks share a commitment to exceptional customer service and are deeply committed to the communities they serve,” Rotatori added. “We also share similar values of developing authentic relationships with consumers and business customers and being their trusted financial advisor."

Hogan Lovells US advised Ion. Piper Sandler and Luse Gorman advised Lincoln Park.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Pinnacle hires Truist bankers to enter nation's capital

Pinnacle Financial Partners in Nashville, Tenn., has entered Washington, D.C., after hiring six bankers from Truist Financial.

The $36.5 billion-asset company said in a press release that Carolyne Pelton, formerly Truist's director of aerospace, defense and government contracting, will lead the team as regional president for the national capital region. 

“This is exactly the team we need to build our firm in the national capital region,” Rick Callicutt, Pinnacle’s chairman for the Carolinas and Virginia, said in the release. “They have the necessary experience, networks and hearts to serve to make our firm successful in a new and powerful market.”

“The opportunity to build a bank and a team from the ground up in the Washington area is a dream come true,” Pelton said in the release. “Given the concentration of government contractors, private equity, technology, real estate development and nonprofit associations, this area is one of the most vibrant in the nation."

Pinnacle said the effort will cost it 2 to 3 cents a share in 2022, though it expects the team to add $250 million to $350 million of loans next year.

"We would expect to see the bank outperform these growth expectations, but see a potential [3 cents] drag as a very reasonable cost for expanding into one of the stronger markets in the country," Stephen Scouten, an analyst at Piper Sandler, said in a client note.

SmartBank enters Nashville after hiring three lenders

SmartFinancial in Knoxville, Tenn., has hired a team of bankers to enter Nashville, Tenn.

The $4.4 billion-asset company said in a press release Monday that it had recruited two bankers from Triumph Bank, along with a lender from Reliant Bank, to pursue commercial and consumer relationships in Nashville. 

Rachael Meurrier, formerly with Triumph, will become SmartBank’s Williamson County market executive. Tony Graves, who had been at Reliant, will be a senior vice president. 

Kent Stone, who had also worked at Triumph, was named a regional mortgage production manager. 

“The Nashville market area provides tremendous growth opportunities, and we are very pleased to expand our market bench strength with these three experienced banking professionals,” Billy Carroll, SmartFinancial’s president and CEO, said in the release. 

“We have long viewed the Nashville market as a natural expansion area for us and these additions are excellent steps towards fulfilling that goal and creating greater density in that market,” Carroll added.


“While we’ve been active in the Nashville MSA through the support of our Murfreesboro … team, these professionals provide the boots-on-the-ground support needed to further increase our market penetration,” David Scott, the bank’s middle Tennessee regional president, said in the release. “As we continue our Nashville expansion, this team serves as a great foundation.”

Thursday, November 25, 2021

National Bank eyeing business-focused digital platform

National Bank Holdings in Denver is working on a digital platform for small and midsize businesses. 

The $7.1 billion-asset company provided details in an investor presentation for 2UniFi, a platform that it said would increase businesses’ access to the banking system, reduce costs and save time, and increase access to actionable and real-time information. 

The presentation, which did not provide a timeline for introducing the platform, said 2UniFi will offer clients services such as digital lending, deposit and treasury management services, information services and blockchain for a faster and lower-cost payment process.

The presentation highlighted National Bank’s strategic relationships with Finstro, Figure Technologies, USDF Consortium and JAM FINTOP Capital. 

The bank disclosed in August that it had invested in Figure as part of an effort to collaborate on blockchain initiatives. JAM FINTOP, a bank-backed investment fund targeting tech firms, raised $150 million in April.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Proposed de novo has new name, high-profile director

A proposed de novo has a new name and a high-profile addition to its board. 

Organizers of ConNext Bank submitted a new application to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Monday for deposit insurance. 

The group, which originally filed with the FDIC in June 2020, originally intended to call the de novo NewBank with a plan to base the financial institution in New York. The de novo, which would operate as a unit of NBF Holdings, will now operate out of Wilmington, Del.

The latest application added Manolo Sanchez to the proposed bank’s list of organizers. Sanchez, former CEO of BBVA Compass, will also join the de novo’s board, pending approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. 

The OCC originally approved the group’s charter application in October 2020. 

There has also been a change in the management team since the original filing. 

Les Lieberman, an organizer who was originally set to become chairman, will new serve as president and CEO. John McNamara, who had been listed as CEO in the initial application, remains an organizer.

Susan French will serve as head of BaaS product, while Phillip DeLeonardis, an organizer, will have an as-yet-undetermined senior position. 

Lieberman is a former executive vice chairman at FCB Financial Holdings in Weston, Fla., which was sold in 2019 to Synovus Financial. 

Lieberman and DeLeonardis were executives at Bond Street Holdings, which bought several Florida banks, including FCB, in the wake of the financial crisis. Bond Street raised $740 million in equity and used a shelf charter from the OCC to pursue its acquisitions. 

The proposed bank’s other organizers are Thomas Constance and Howard Curd.

Blue Foundry to incur charge from benefit plan exit

Blue Foundry Bancorp in Rutherford, N.J., said it will recognize a $2 million charge in the fourth quarter tied to its exit from a defined-benefit plan.

The $2 billion-asset company said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that it had decided in August to withdraw from the tax-qualified, multiple-employer defined benefit pension plan. The move was authorized, effective Sept. 30. 

The company recognized a $9.2 million charge in the third quarter tied to the exit. 

The added charge reflects the final $11.2 million price for leaving the plan.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Calif. group looks to form bank for Chinese-Americans

A group in Irvine, Calif., is looking to form a minority depository institution.

Organizers applied with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Nov. 18 for Bank Irvine. The proposed bank, which will primarily work with the Chinese-American community in Orange and Los Angeles counties, is looking to become an MDI. 

The proposed bank “will be a commercial bank focused on providing traditional banking products and services to local small- and medium-size businesses, business owner, real estate owners and investors, and other individuals,” the group said in its application.

Organizers are looking to raise $25 million in initial capital.

Jianyin (Paul) Peng, who is set to become the bank’s CEO, will also own more than 10% of the bank’s stock. The application said he has 26 years of banking and capital management experience in the U.S., China and Hong Kong. 

Patrick Fields is expected to serve as the bank’s chairman.

Organizers in California, Delaware looking to form banks

Groups in California and Delaware have applied for deposit insurance.

ConNext Bank would be based in Wilmington, Del., according to a notice from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Organizers are going for a national bank charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Separately, a group in Southern California has applied for deposit insurance for Bank Irvine. 

The applications were not immediately available.

Monday, November 22, 2021

KeyCorp buys software developer XUP

KeyCorp in Cleveland has acquired XUP Payments, a B2B-focused digital platform. 

The $187 billion-asset KeyCorp, which did not disclose the price it paid, said it will use XUP’s payments-related technology to improve the experience of its commercial products. XUP, a software developer, has built integrations with processors, third-party risk tools, customer relationship management systems and other fintech services.

KeyCorp initially partnered with XUP in early 2020 on a project to upgrade its merchant-onboarding processes. KeyCorp bought an equity stake in XUB in February.

Chris May, XUP's president, will join KeyCorp.

"We've long embraced the software innovation that's sweeping through the financial services industry, and the acquisition of XUP allows us to continue to be a leader in this space," Ken Gavrity, KeyBank’s head of enterprise payments and analytics, said in the release. 

"XUP's highly experienced team has accelerated us on the journey to build connectivity across our systems, our partners, and our customers, to make it easy to do business with Key," Gavrity added.

KeyCorp bought AQN Strategies earlier this year to enhance its data analytics capabilities. It bought Laurel Road’s digital student loan refinance platform in 2019. The company also has partnerships with AvidXchange, BillTrust and Bill.com.

First National of Nebraska to buy Wyoming bank

First National of Nebraska in Omaha has agreed to buy Western States BanCorp. in Laramie, Wyo.

The $25.8 billion-asset First National said in a press release Monday that it expects to complete the purchase of the $542 million-asset Western States in the first quarter. First National did not disclose the price it will pay.

Western States 10 branches and $486 million of deposits across southeast Wyoming, northeast Colorado and the Nebraska panhandle.

First National will enter the Wyoming markets of Laramie and Cheyenne when the deal closes.

First National has nearly 100 branches in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas. Olsen Palmer advised Western States.

Olsen Palmer advised Western States.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Technology fund with ICBA ties raises $55 million

A fund with ties to the Independent Community Bankers of America and two community banks has raised $55 million to invest in technology ventures. 

BankTech Ventures (BTV) said in a press release Tuesday that most of the funds came from community banks. The general partners come from the ICBA, The Venture Center, Hovde Group, Coastal Community Bank and Sunwest Bank. 

BTV said it expects to eventually work with more than 150 community banks. 

BTV has a partnership with The Venture Center, which has an accelerator program for technology firms.

Participants in the accelerator provide “services banks need, they’re going to keep growing,” Wayne Miller, The Venture Center’s executive director and a BTV general partner, said in the release. 

The Venture Center, a nonprofit, evaluates thousands of bank-tech startups annually, accepting 10 startups on a biannual basis. The accelerator puts the startups through a 16-week boot camp where the founders work closely with community bankers to better understand and meet the needs of the banks and end-users. 

BTV is targeting $150 million to $200 million for its first fund and expects to do its second close by the end of 2021.

The fund’s other general partners are Eric Sprink, Coastal Community’s CEO; Carson Lappetito, Sunwest’s president; Steve Hovde, Hovde’s chairman and CEO; and Charles Potts, the ICBA’s chief innovation officer.

Oak Valley in California taps insider as next president

Oak Valley Bancorp in Oakdale, Calif., will have a new president next year.

The $1.9 billion-asset company said in a press release Friday that Rick McCarty will take on the new role on Jan. 1. He will succeed Christopher Courtney, who will remain CEO. 

McCarty joined Oak Valley more than 22 years ago. He will remain the company’s chief operating officer, a position he took on in 2017. 

McCarty “has been an integral part of the growth and prosperity of the bank,” Courtney said in the release. 

“His oversight of the bank’s mission-critical functions and the instrumental role he plays within the management team have been key drivers of our success," Courtney added. "This promotion signals the influence he has had on the company through the years and illustrates the continued execution of our succession planning initiatives.” 

Oak Valley has 17 branches, with plans to open another in the first quarter.

Judge temporarily halts credit union-bank deal in Tenn.

Orion Federal Credit Union in Memphis, Tenn., has been momentarily barred by a Tennessee court from moving ahead with its planned purchase of Financial Federal Bank in Memphis. 

Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Patricia Moskal granted Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions Commissioner Greg Gonzales’ request for a temporary injunction to block the proposed merger, according to multiple media outlets. 

Gonzales’ office had argued that the Tennessee Banking Act prevents the $1 billion-asset Orion from buying the $751 million-asset bank. The commissioner asserted that the law allows only bank holding companies to acquire, form or control a bank. 

Orion and Financial Federal have argued that the deal, structured as a purchase-and-assumption agreement, is a purchase transaction – not an acquisition. 

Judge Moskal also said the matter deserves “a speedy hearing,” ordering each side to submit a proposed scheduling order to make that happen.

The court's ruling could add Tennessee to a list of states where it is hard for credit unions to buy banks.

Colorado banking regulators in January 2020 blocked a bid by Elevations Credit Union to buy the assets of Cache Bank & Trust. The bank was eventually sold to 

Simmons expanding in Texas with Spirit acquisition

Simmons First in Pine Bluff, Ark., has agreed to buy Spirit of Texas Bancshares in Conroe.

The $23.2 billion-asset Simmons said in a press release Friday that it will pay $581 million in cash and stock for the $3.2 billion-asset Spirit. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

Spirit has 37 branches, $2.3 billion of loans and $2.7 billion of deposits. 

“Spirit is a highly regarded, high-performing bank with whom we share a common philosophy – providing outstanding customer service and developing deep and long-lasting relationships with the clients and communities that we serve and where we live,” George Makris Jr., Simmons’ chairman and CEO. 

“Strengthening our Texas franchise has been a strategic priority and to partner with Spirit not only enhances our current footprint, but also establishes a platform for growth in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and College Station,” Makris added. “These markets have been among the fastest growing in the nation in terms of population and economic activity and projections call for this trend to continue.”

Dean Bass, Spirit’s chairman and CEO, will join Simmons board. 

Simmons in October acquired Landmark Community Bank and TriumphBancshares. 

The deal is expected to be 9.8% accretive to Simmons’ 2023 earnings per share. Simmons said it expects to cut about 35% of Spirit’s annual noninterest expenses. 

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Covington & Burling advised Simmons. Stephens and Hunton Andrews Kurth.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Chicago bank with Manafort ties hit with reg order

Federal Savings Bank in Chicago has been ordered to address its risk management, consumer compliance and anti-money laundering protocols. 

The Oct. 29 formal agreement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency came three months after Stephen Calk, the $815 million-asset bank’s former CEO, was convicted of bribery tied to loans made to Paul Manafort.

The bank, now led by John Calk, Calk’s brother, must form a compliance committee comprised mostly of outside directors. The committee will have to file monthly reports detailing progress addressing the OCC’s concerns. 

Federal Savings was required to form a risk management system that includes independent reviews and internal audits. It must also develop a program to make sure it complies with consumer protection rules.

The bank was also required to overhaul its compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money-laundering laws. 

The OCC agreement did not mention Manafort or Stephen Calk. 

Stephen Calk was banned from the banking industry in 2019. The former banker, who faces a maximum sentence of 30 years, is scheduled to be sentenced in February.

Federal Savings, during and shortly after the 2016 presidential campaign, made two loans to Manafort that totaled $16 million. It was alleged that Calk approved the loans as part of an unsuccessful effort to land a senior role in the Trump administration.

Third Coast in Texas raises $101 million from IPO

Third Coast Bancshares in Humble, Texas, has raised $100.6 million from its initial public offering. 

The $2 billion-asset company said in a press release Wednesday that it sold more than 4 million shares, including an overallotment of 525,000 shares, as part of the IPO. The shares were sold at $25 a share.

The company said in October that net proceeds could be used to support organic growth and other purposes that could include maintaining required capital levels and acquisitions. 

Stephens, Piper Sandler and Deutsche Bank Securities were the joint book-running managers.

SmartFinancial hires BBVA wealth management team

SmartFinancial in Knoxville, Tenn., has hired a team of wealth management professionals in Mobile, Ala.

The $4.4 billion-asset company said in a press release Wednesday that the six-member team, hired from BBVA Compass Investment Solutions, will operate as part of SmartBank Investment Services.

The team is being led by Thomas Montz, Amanda Montz and Nathan Novotny. SmartFinancial said the group has been responsible for more than $350 million in assets under management. 

The Mobile office also houses members of SmartFinancial’s corporate banking team, along with Nate Sommer, Gulf Coast regional president, and Steve Rockwell, Mobile market president. 

“With the addition of this team, we look forward to accelerating SBIS’s growth and further diversifying the company’s revenue streams,” Billy Carroll, SmartFinancial’s president and CEO, said in the release.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Oportun to buy neobank Digit for $213 million

Oportun in San Carlos, Calif., has agreed to buy neobank Digit. 

Oportun said in a press release Tuesday that it will pay $212.9 million in cash and equity for Digit in a move designed to expand its A.I. and digital capabilities. The deal is expected to close by early next year.

Oportun said it had obtained a commitment to finance the cash consideration, noting that Jefferies had provided the financing commitment. 

The acquisition “will expand our addressable market, accelerate and diversify revenue growth, and position Oportun for even more future success,” Raul Vazquez, Oportun’s CEO, said in the release. “We are purchasing a proven and scalable neobanking solution that gets us to market [three to five] years earlier than if we were to build it on our own.” 

The deal comes less than two months after Oportun withdrew an application for a national bank charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The company has said it plans to refile.

Digit, founded in 2013, provides its 600,000 paying members with personalized savings, investing and banking tools. The platform automatically sets aside funds for members by analyzing cash flow and recognizing how much can be saved and invested while remaining well within a member’s immediate financial means. 

Digit will operate as a business unit within Oportun and continue to be led by CEO Ethan Bloch. All of Digit’s more than 100 employees will join Oportun and continue their job functions. 

J.P. Morgan and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati advised Oportun. Goodwin Procter and Financial Technology Partners advised Digit.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

U.S. Bank buying fintech focused on expense reporting

U.S. Bancorp in Minneapolis has agreed to buy TravelBank, a San Francisco fintech that focuses on expense reporting. 

TravelBank also helps employees and businesses automate processes, streamline approvals and reporting, and ensure compliance with company policies. 

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. The $567 billion-asset U.S. Bancorp did not disclose the price it will pay.

"We are focused on giving businesses more confidence, control and convenience in managing payments and expenses,” Shailesh Kotwal, vice chair of payment services at U.S. Bank, said in the release. 

“TravelBank will help us accelerate these efforts,” Kotwal added. “In partnering with TravelBank over the past year, we’ve seen how effective the solution is in improving efficiencies for businesses. This acquisition will allow us to significantly expand our client base and deliver even more value to our customers.”

U.S. Bancorp and TravelBank partnered last year to integrate the U.S. Bank Instant Card, a card linked to the user’s mobile phone, into the TravelBank solution.

Organizers file plans for new Wisconsin bank

A group in Delafield, Wis., is looking to form a bank.

Organizers of the proposed Virtue Bank applied on Friday with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for deposit insurance. 

The bank would operate as a unit of Digital First Bancorp. 

"The bank is being established to serve the financial needs of the local communities in which it resides," the group said in its application. "Additionally, it is expected that the bank will have a national reach due to the proposed digital capabilities of the financial institution."

The organizers are Jon Lancaster, Michael Moderski, Michelle Toll, Adam York and Brian Watterson.

Moderski, who would serve as the bank's CEO, said the group plans to raise $35 million in initial capital.

Moderski is a former president and chief operating officer at McFarland State Bank, according to his LinkedIn profile.

BM Technologies to acquire First Sound Bank in Seattle

BM Technologies in Radnor, Pa., has agreed to buy First Sound Bank in Seattle.

BM Technologies, spun off from Customers Bancorp earlier this year, said in a press release Monday that it will pay $23 million in cash for the $150 million-asset First Sound. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2022. 

The combined company will operate as BMTX Bank. BM Technologies, once known as BankMobile, said it expects the acquisition to be “significantly accretive” to its revenue and earnings over the next one to three years. 

“This is a thrilling milestone for BM Technologies and is a major step forward in executing our vision to create a disruptive fintech bank that combines the best of financial technology with a strong and compliant FDIC-insured institution,” Luvleen Sidhu, BM Technologies’ chairman and CEO, said in the release. 

“This merger allows BMTX to lead a new wave of financial innovation by enhancing its focus on technology, inclusion, easy-to-use products, and customer education with the mission of creating ‘customers for life’,” Sidhu added. “This merger is expected to meaningfully expand our already profitable, technology focused business model and will enhance our diversified earnings.” 

Sidhu said BMTX Bank, over time, will add direct-to-consumer and small business operations, along with marketplace lending, robo-advisory services and blockchain-based payment systems. 

Marty Steele, First Sound’s president and CEO, will lead the combined company’s community banking division and serve as chief operating officer of BMTX Bank. 

Wedbush Securities and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough advised BM Technologies. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Keller Rohrback advised First Sound.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Norwood Financial CEO to retire in 2022

Norwood Financial in Honesdale, Pa., is looking for a new CEO. 

The $2 billion-asset company said in a press release Monday that Lewis Critelli will also retire as its president during the first half of next year. Norwood said it had hired Kaplan Partners to help it find a successor. 

Critelli has been Norwood’s president and CEO since 2010. Under his leadership, the company completed three acquisitions and expanded into new markets in Pennsylvania and upstate New York. 

Norwood had $529 million of assets at the beginning of his tenure. 

Critelli will remain on the company’s board until 2024.

Patriot National to merge with American Challenger

Patriot National Bancorp in Stamford, Conn., has agreed to buy American Challenger Development in a move designed to create the nation’s biggest challenger bank.

The $952 million-asset Patriot National said in a press release Monday it will pay $119 million for American Challenger. The deal will be structured as a reverse subsidiary merger, with American Challenger surviving as a wholly owned subsidiary of Patriot.

Raymond Quinlan, American Challenger’s CEO, will become Patriot’s CEO. Felix Scherzer, American Challenger’s chairman and president, will have the same titles at Patriot.

Michael Carrazza, Patriot’s chairman, will become vice chairman.

Patriot also entered into separate agreements to securities to certain investors to bring in $540 million of capital. The company plans to raise another $350 million. The investors will own nearly 72% of Patriot following the recapitalization.

The acquisition and the capital raises are expected to close in the first quarter.

Patriot plans to operate two divisions – the Patriot Bank division will maintain the company’s existing business, while the American Challenger division will execute the high-growth business plan.

“We’re excited to have engineered this industry-disrupting merger,” Carrazza said in the release. 

“Customers will benefit from an expanded array of services and a tech-savvy banking experience, while shareholders should benefit from the compelling value that will be created,” Carrazza added. “Patriot’s team will remain intact and will be complemented by American Challenger’s team and digital platform capabilities.” 

American Challenger’s organizers had pursued a charter with the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, along with deposit insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., in late 2020. The plan was to target Gen X customers with products such as deposits, mortgages and senior-secured commercial loans. 

The bank would have been initially capitalized with $750 million with plans to raise another $230 million from selling preferred stock. It had gained conditional OCC approval.

American Challenger also announced on Monday that it had entered into a term sheet with Sunlight Financial to buy nearly $1.8 billion of solar energy loans over several years.

BofA Securities, Barclays Capital and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods are serving as private placement agents for Patriot’s recapitalization. Squire Patton Boggs advised the placement agents.

Evercore and Blank Rome advised Patriot on the transaction. Sullivan & Cromwell advised American Challenger.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Eagle in Montana pushes back bank deal's closing date

Eagle Bancorp Montana in Helena has pushed back the closing date of its pending purchase of First Community Bancorp in Glasgow, Mont. 

The $1.4 billion-asset Eagle said in a regulatory filing Friday that it now expects to complete the acquisition in the first quarter. The company originally forecast a fourth quarter closing. 

Eagle did not provide a reason for the new timeline. 

Eagle announced the $41.3 million deal in October.  

The deal is expected to be 12% accretive to Eagle’s 2022 earnings per share. It should take Eagle less than four years to earn back any dilution to its tangible book value.

Eagle plans to cut about a quarter of First Community’s annual noninterest expenses. The company expects to incur $4 million of merger-related expenses.

Providence Bank to acquire Leaders Bank in Illinois

Providence Bank & Trust in South Holland, Ill., has agreed to but Leaders Bank in Oak Brook, Ill. 

The $1.3 billion-asset Providence did not disclose the price it will pay for the $359 million-asset Leaders.

The acquisition “reflects our ongoing commitment to providing personalized banking services and products at the community level,” Steve Van Drunen, Providence’s president and CEO, said in the release.

"We’re confident that customers will have a positive banking experience, as we carry on the high level of service that they have grown accustomed to,” Van Drunen added. 

Providence, founded in 2004, has a business plan where a tenth of its profits are donated to local civic, nonprofit and Christian organizations.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Georgia Banking to buy Peoples BankTrust

Georgia Banking Co. in Atlanta has agreed to buy Peoples BankTrust in Buford, Ga.

The $1 billion-asset Georgia Banking said in a press release Wednesday that it will pay $58 million in cash and preferred stock for the $439 million-asset Peoples. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter. 

Peoples one branch, $393 million of deposits and $151 million of loans.

Georgia Banking was recapitalized by an investor group led by Bartow Morgan Jr. in February. The new ownership group raised $180 million to fund growth and build a commercial and private banking franchise. 

"Expanding our franchise to serve the people of the broader metro Atlanta community is at the core of our strategic vision,” Morgan said in the release “The acquisition grows our market share and provides us an excellent opportunity to broaden our footprint into Buford, Georgia in a low-risk manner."

Larry Cheek, a Peoples director, will join the Georgia Banking board. 

Evercore and Troutman Pepper advised Georgia Banking. Performance Trust Capital Partners and Nelson Mullins advised Peoples.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

QCR in Illinois to buy Guaranty Federal in Missouri

QCR Holdings in Moline, Ill., has agreed to buy Guaranty Federal Bancshares in Springfield, Mo.

The $6 billion-asset QCR said in a press release Tuesday that it will pay $151.6 million in cash and stock for the $1.2 billion-asset Guaranty Federal. The deal is expected to close in the first or second quarter.

QCR plans to merge Guaranty Bank into its Springfield First Community Bank charter, though the combined bank will operate under the Guaranty brand in Springfield and southwest Missouri. 

“Springfield and neighboring southwest Missouri markets make up a vibrant region where strong relationships with our clients matter,” Larry Helling, QCR’s CEO, said in the release. 

Guaranty "strongly aligns with our culture and our dedication to client service,” Helling added. “Enhancing our market share in this region supports our strategic goals and enables us to extend our high-performing and profitable niche business lines benefiting clients and shareholders alike.” 

Guaranty has 16 branches and $1 billion of deposits. 

Monte McNew, Springfield First’s president and CEO, will remain the bank’s CEO. Shaun Burke, Guaranty Bank’s president and CEO, will become Springfield First’s president.

QCR said it expects the deal to be 13% accretive to its earnings per share in the first full year, excluding merger-related charges. It should take less than three years to earn back an estimated 5% dilution to QCR’s tangible book value.

Piper Sandler and Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg advised QCR. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Sidley Austin advised Guaranty.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Allegiance, CBTX merger to create $10B-asset bank

CBTX in Houston has agreed to merge with Allegiance Bancshares in Houston.

The companies said in a press release that the $4.2 billion-asset CBTX will be the legal acquirer of the $6.8 billion-asset Allegiance. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. 

Allegiance shareholders will own 54% of the combined company. The name of the holding company and the bank have yet to be determined. 

"We are very excited to partner with CBTX with whom we share culture, strategic vision and a commitment to our stakeholders,” Steve Retzloff, Allegiance's CEO, said in the release. 

“This transaction is a true merger of equals, combining the best of our highly-respected community banks which better positions us to serve our customers and drive enhanced financial performance," Retzloff added. “"Our companies complement each other beautifully and the combined company will be a formidable competitor across our markets.”

The merger is expected to generate $35.5 million of run-rate cost synergies by 2023, or 15% of the combined annual operating expense. It should be 40% accretive to CBTX’s 2023 earnings per share, and 17% accretive for Allegiance. 

Steve Retzloff will serve as executive chairman, while Bob Franklin, CBTX’s chairman, president and CEO, will become CEO. Ray Vitulli, Allegiance’s president, will be the bank’s CEO. 

The 14-member board will be evenly split between CBTX and Allegiance. 

Raymond James and Bracewell advised Allegiance. Stephens, Fenimore Kay Harrison and Norton Rose Fulbright US advised CBTX.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Capital One adds former banker to its board

Capital One Financial in McLean, Va., has added a former bank CEO to its board. 

The $425 billion-asset company said in a press release Friday that Christine Detrick had become a director and will stand for election next May. She will serve on the audit and risk committees. 

Detrick recently served as a director and head of the Americas financial services practice at Bain & Co. Previously, she was a member of the global leadership team, board of management and board of directors at A.T. Kearney. 

She was also president and CEO of St. Louis Bank for Savings. 

Detrick “brings the wisdom of her diverse set of experiences to our board, with an impressive blend of executive management and board leadership roles across multiple industries,” Richard Fairbank, Capital One’s chairman and CEO, said in the release. 

“Her strong strategic mindset has been honed through years of strategy consulting, complemented by hands-on business experience, risk management expertise and elite governance skills,” Fairbank added.

Malvern writes down sold nonaccrual loans, TDRs

Malvern Bancorp in Paoli, Pa., said it will have a special loan-loss provision in its fiscal fourth quarter after selling three loans and recording a writedown. 

The $1.2 billion-asset company said in a press release Friday that it recorded a $10.4 million writedown after selling loans with an aggregate book balance of $29.3 million. 

The loans sold included about $12.2 million of nonaccruing loans and $17.1 million of performing troubled-debt restructurings. The company classified the loans as held for sale at Sept. 30. 

Malvern said it plans to record a special $10.6 million provision for the quarter that ended on Sept. 30.

Armed Forces Bank to buy mortgage lending operation

Dickinson Financial, the parent of Armed Forces Bank in Leavenworth, Kan., has agreed to buy the residential mortgage operations of KS StateBank in Manhattan, Kan.

The $1.2 billion-asset Armed Forces Bank did not disclose how much it will pay the $2.3 billion-asset KS StateBank. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

The deal is expected to more than double Armed Forces Bank’s mortgage lending business and add four loan-production offices in Arizona, Kansas, and Minnesota. 

“We know how important home ownership is to establish financial security, creating wealth, and building community, which is why we are committed to expanding our residential mortgage banking services for all of our clients,” Paul Holewinski, Dickinson’s CEO, said in a press release. 

“We are excited to partner with KS StateBank, a bank like ours that has strong roots in the Midwest, but reach throughout the country that values and embodies trust in banking,” Holewinski added.

Founders of Locality Bank get FDIC conditional approval

Organizers of the proposed Locality Bank in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., have received conditional approval for deposit insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The FDIC is requiring the group to raise $23 million before opening the de novo, according to the Nov. 1 order. 

Locality’s organizers announced plans for the bank in March. 

The group said in August that it had secured $19 million in commitments from local business leaders. 

Keith Costello is set to become the bank’s CEO when it opens.

Amerant to save $12M annually from outsourcing pact

Amerant Bancorp in Coral Gables, Fla., is cutting costs through a outsourcing agreement with FIS.

The $7.5 billion-asset Amerant said in a press release Thursday that the multiyear agreement gives FIS full responsibility for a number of functions, including certain back-office operations. 

The move will outsource 90 positions to FIS and reduce Amerant’s annual expenses by $12 million. 

"We are excited to begin this relationship with FIS and for the positive impact it will have on our operations by improving efficiencies significantly,” Jerry Plush, Amerant’s vice chairman and CEO, said in the release. 

“We are very optimistic about this new phase of our business transformation journey," Plush added. “We believe this partnership will enable us to achieve our operating efficiency targets more quickly and continue profitably growing our company.”

Thursday, November 4, 2021

OCC snag to delay closing of Blue Ridge-FVCB deal

Blue Ridge Bankshares in Charlottesville, Va., said an issue raised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will delay the planned completion of its purchase of FVCBankcorp in Fairfax, Va.

The $2.7 billion-asset Blue Ridge did not provide details on the issue, though it said the “regulatory concerns … could impact the application process and timing” of the merger. 

Blue Ridge, which originally planned to close the deal in the first quarter, now expects to complete the $306.6 million acquisition in the second or third quarter. 

Blue Ridge said in the release that it had already started an effort intended to fully address the OCC’s concerns. 

“While we have additional work to do, we believe the OCC’s concerns are ones that we can solve in a timely fashion, and do not materially impact the strategic rationale of the merger,” Brian Plum, Blue Ridge’s president and CEO, said in the release. “We are considering various alternatives to proceed with regulatory applications and shareholder meetings, and to close the merger as expediently as possible.” 

"We strongly believe that this transformational partnership remains strategically and financially attractive,” said David Pijor, the $2 billion-asset FVCB’s chairman and CEO. 

“For all of the reasons that we’ve discussed previously, this is a highly compelling transaction for both companies, and we are committed to seeing it through to completion,” Pijor added. “We also know how committed Blue Ridge Bank’s management team is to resolving any concerns raised by its regulators.”

First Merchants to buy Level One in Michigan

First Merchants in Muncie, Ind., has agreed to buy Level One Bancorp in Farmington Hills, Mich.

The $15.1 billion-asset First Merchants said in a press release Thursday that it will pay $323.5 million in cash and stock for the $2.5 billion-asset Level One. The deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2022, priced Level One at 188% of its tangible book value.

Level One has 16 branches, $1.7 billion of loans and $2.1 billion of deposits. 

First Merchants said it expects the deal to be 10.4% accretive to its 2023 earnings per share. It should take less than three years to earn back an estimated 4.3% dilution to First Merchants’ tangible book value.

First Merchants plans to cut 30% of Level One's annual noninterest expenses. It expects to incur $23.5 million of merger-related expenses.

“Like First Merchants, Level One Bank has a strong customer-focused history and a deep-rooted commitment to community banking,” Mark Hardwick, First Merchants’ CEO, said in the release.

Level One will appoint one director to join First Merchants' board.

Several Level One executives, including President Timothy Mackay and Chief Lending Officer Gregory Wernette, will join First Merchants. Patrick Fehring, Level One’s chairman and CEO, plans to retire. Stephens and Dentons Bingham Greenebaum advised First Merchants.

Piper Sandler and Barack Ferrazzano advised Level One.

OceanFirst entering three states with Partners deal

OceanFirst Financial in Red Bank, N.J., has agreed to buy Partners Bancorp in Salisbury, Md. 

The $11.8 billion-asset OceanFirst said in a press release Thursday that it will pay $186 million in cash and stock for the $1.6 billion-asset Partners. The deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2022, priced Partners at 146% of its tangible book value.

Partners has two banks: Bank of Delmarva and Virginia Partners Bank. The company has $1.1 billion of loans and $1.4 billion of deposits. 

OceanFirst will enter Delaware, Maryland and Virginia with the acquisition.

OceanFirst said it expects the deal to be about 10% accretive to its 2023 earnings per share. It should take three years for OceanFirst to earn back an estimated 4% dilution to its tangible book value.

OceanFirst plans to cut 40% of Partners annual noninterest expenses. The company expects to incur $20 million of merger-related expenses. 

“The banks that comprise Partners … are each strong organizations operating community commercial banking models and have demonstrated strong growth in their markets,” Christopher Maher, OceanFirst’s chairman and CEO, said in the release. 

“Joining the OceanFirst family will allow these highly professional commercial bankers to continue to build new relationships while leveraging the technology and operating efficiency offered by our company,” Maher added.

Raymond James and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom advised OceanFirst. Piper Sandler and Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders advised Partners.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Group planning minority women-owned bank in Penn.

A group in central Pennsylvania is looking to form a minority, women-owned bank.

Organizers of American Women’s Bank in Camp Hill, Pa., applied with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Tuesday for deposit insurance. The bank would have a national charter and would be regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The group’s “mission is to create a financial platform for women who would like to pursue their dreams of owning a business,” the application said. “There is a need for a bank led by a woman who understands small business challenges and can assist other women in their endeavors.”

American Women’s Bank would focus on providing financial services to women-owned businesses, with products such as commercial real estate and construction loans, commercial-and-industrial loans, working capital loans, lines of credit and Small Business Administration loans.

Organizers plan to raise $15 million to $20 million in initial capital.

Jeian Rauchut would serve as the bank’s chairman, president and CEO. A community engagement and growth specialist at Gateway Health, her most-recent bank position was at Centric Bank, where she was a vice president and cash management manager from February 2011 to mid-2013.

Jeannetta DeDay, the proposed bank’s chief lending officer, was the manager of the Harrisburg, Pa., region for Susquehanna Bank, where she led a team and established a loan-production center. Prior to joining Susquehanna, DeDay was manager of commercial lending and was the corporate secretary for Integrity Bank.

George Niemczyk, who would serve as chief credit officer, is a former chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Pascack Bancorp, while Floyd Weekes, set to become chief financial officer and chief technology officer, held a number of top leadership posts at CSB&T Bancorp in Nashville, Tenn.

Richard Hunt to step down as CBA leader in 2022

Richard Hunt is preparing to step down as president and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association.

Hunt, who has held the post since 2009, confirmed in a tweet Wednesday that he plans to retire next summer. 

"When the board entrusted me with the job … in 2009, I set a goal of serving for 10 years, but I’ve loved being part of CBA so much, I stayed an extra three,” Hunt said in a separate tweet. “Now it’s time to look for a new leader to take the helm.” 

Hunt said the CBA will form a search committee to find his successor. 

The CBA at the time of Hunt’s appointment “was primarily known for weighing in on student lending, and the [government] had chased banks out of it,” Rob Blackwell, chief content officer at InterFi Network, said in his own tweet. Hunt “fought to make CBA influential on other policy issues.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

First Internet buying deposit-rich bank in Georgia

First Internet Bancorp in Fishers, Ind., has agreed to buy First Century Bancorp in Roswell, Ga.

The $4.3 billion-asset First Internet said in a press release Tuesday that it will pay $80 million in cash for the $408 million-asset First Century. The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter, priced First Century at 135% of its tangible book value. 

First Century is a technology-driven bank that focuses on payments, tax product lending, sponsored card programs and homeowners association services. The company has $330 million of deposits and $32 million of loans. 

The acquisition “aligns with our strategy of operating unique and scalable businesses with nationwide platforms,” David Becker, First Internet’s chairman and CEO, said in the release. 

“It allows us to continue to diversify and grow our revenue streams in a capital efficient manner,” Becker added. “And, importantly, First Century’s success in the HOA business grants us access to a very attractive deposit base, with opportunity to expand.” 

First Internet said it expects the deal to be 21% accretive to its 2023 earnings per share. It should take the company about three years to earn back an expected 7% dilution to its tangible book value. 

First Internet plans to cut $1.8 million of annual noninterest expenses. It plans to incur $6.5 million of merger-related expenses. 

First Internet was advised by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and SmithAmundsen. First Century was advised by Janney Montgomery Scott and Troutman Pepper.

Monday, November 1, 2021

MidWestOne to buy Iowa First Bancshares for $48M

MidWestOne Financial Group in Iowa City has agreed to buy Iowa First Bancshares in Muscatine. 

The $5.9 billion-asset MidWestOne said in a press release Monday that it will pay $47.6 million in cash for the $520 million-asset Iowa First. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter. 

“This is a natural extension of the MidWestOne geographic footprint as we increase our market presence in Muscatine and Jefferson counties,” Charles Funk, MidWestOne’s CEO, said in the release. 

Iowa First has two banks, five branches, $453 million of deposits and $304 million of loans. 

MidWestOne said it expects the deal to be about 14.4% accretive to its 2022 earnings per share in 2022, excluding merger-related expenses, and 10.8% accretive the next year. It should take less than a year for the company to earn back an estimated 0.7% dilution to its tangible book value.

Piper Sandler and Otteson Shapiro advised MidWestOne. Hovde Group and Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg advised Iowa First.

Wintrust to buy Allstate loans, offer products to agents

Wintrust Financial in Rosemont, Ill., has agreed to buy a loan portfolio from Allstate. 

The $48 billion-asset Winstrust said in a press release Monday that it will acquire about $570 million of loans, most of which belong to Allstate agents. The agents use the funds to establish and expand their businesses, along with other working capital needs.

Wintrust also agreed to become the national preferred provider of loans to Allstate agents. Wintrust will offer Small Business Administration loans and real estate-related financing to Allstate agents, who will have access to the bank’s wealth management and mortgage products and its digital banking services.

The deal is expected to close in November. 

Wintrust did not disclose what it will pay for the loans. 

“Wintrust is excited to work with Allstate to acquire the agency loans and looks forward to serving Allstate agents going forward,” Edward Wehmer, Wintrust’s CEO, said in the release. “This portfolio and the related ongoing opportunity is a great fit with our existing insurance finance business.”

Midland States to wind down GreenSky portfolio

Midland States Bancorp in Effingham, Ill., will spend the next two years winding down a portfolio of point-of-sale loans. 

The $7.1 billion-asset company holds about $834 million of loans originated by GreenSky, a nonbank lender that agreed in September to be sold to Goldman Sachs. 

The company said loan originations should continue through mid-2022. After that, Midland States expects the portfolio to shrink by $400 million to $450 million until mid-2023, with slower runoff taking place after that. 

Midland States said in a presentation tied to quarterly earnings that it is “well positioned” to replace the GreenSky portfolio through a “combination of a larger commercial banking team, new direct consumer lending programs and other fintech partnership opportunities.”

“A record commercial pipeline should help” Midland States offset the lost GreenSky loans, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst Michael Perito wrote in a note to clients. 

“Given Midland State’s involvement with the fintech arena, we wouldn't be surprised to see the company bring a couple new fintech partnerships into the fold on the consumer lending side over time,” Perito added. 

The GreenSky portfolio represents about 17% of Midland State’s total loans. The average GreenSky loan is for $2,141, while only 0.25% of the portfolio is more than 60 days delinquent. 

GreenSky received incentive fees in 32 of the past 33 months, including every month in 2020 and 2021.

BancFirst in Oklahoma to buy Dallas-area bank

BancFirst in Oklahoma City has agreed to buy Worthington National Bank in Arlington, Texas.

The $11 billion-asset BancFirst disclosed in a regulatory filing Monday that it expects to buy the $463 million-asset Worthington in the first quarter. BancFirst did not disclose the price it will pay.

Worthington has four branches, $269 million of loans and $421.5 million of deposits.

BancFirst said Worthington would continue to operate under its brand and would keep its charter with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Worthington would remain an independent unit of BancFirst governed by its existing board.

BancFirst said it plans “to provide an appropriate amount of capital or other support to increase Worthington’s ability to approve larger loans and allow Worthington to continue to grow their assets.”

Business First to raise $47M through stock offering

Business First Bancshares in Baton Rouge, La., plans to raise about $46.8 million from selling common stock.  The $5.5 billion-asset company...