Content tagged “Banking”

Business First Bank announces reorganization

Baton Rouge-based Business First Bank announced today a reorganization of its community banking franchise into three geographic regions—Capital Region, Western Region and Southeastern Region—and a centralization of risk management operations. The bank's leaders say the reorganization is being done to take advantage of strategic growth opportunities in the respective regional markets. "The Louisiana regions we serve present excellent opportunities for growth, either by deepening existing customer relationships and attracting new ones or by taking advantage of strategic expansion opportunities," says Business First Bank President and CEO Jude Melville in a press release issued today. "Under our new structure, we're balancing our ability to meet the financial requirements of our customers—and provide...

U.S. banking regulator warns funds amid fears of loan bubble

A U.S. bank regulator is warning about the dangers of banks and alternative asset managers working together to do risky deals and get around rules amid concerns about a possible bubble in junk-rated loans to companies. Reuters reports the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has already told banks to avoid some of the riskiest junk loans to companies, but is alarmed that banks may still do such deals by sharing some of the risk with asset managers. "We do not see any benefit to banks working with alternative asset managers or shadow banks to skirt the regulation and continue to have weak deals flooding markets," says Martin Pfinsgraff, senior deputy comptroller for large bank supervision at the OCC, in a statement in response to questions from Reuters. Among the investors in alternative asset managers are pension funds that have funding issues of their own, he says. "Transferring future losses from banks to pension funds does not aid long-term financial stability for the U.S.

Louisiana among national leaders in interest paid on savings accounts

While the difference from top to bottom is very small and no one is likely to get rich on the income, the amount you earn on a savings account has a lot to do with where you live. And if you live in Louisiana, chances are you're getting among the best interest rates in the nation. Baton Rouge residents, in particular, have access to the fifth-highest return on savings accounts in the country. A study released by GOBankingRates ranked Louisiana fifth in terms of what its banks and credit unions are paying for savings accounts, and Baton Rouge ranked fifth among major cities in that category. Data in the study was compiled from GOBankingRates' interest rate database (in partnership with Informa Research Services), which aggregates bank account and interest rate information from more than 4,000 financial institutions. Data were as of January 2014. The difference between the...

IBERIABANK to acquire Teche

Lafayette-based IBERIABANK Corp. says it will acquire Teche Federal Bank, headquartered in neighboring New Iberia, via a merger announced this morning and valued at $161 million. "We are pleased to team up with such a high-quality banking partner," says Teche Chaiman, President and CEO Patrick Little in a press release issued this morning. "Our clients will benefit from an expanded array of products and services, along with the added convenience of nearly 200 bank locations in six states." The deal has been approved by the boards of both banks, but is still subject to customary closing conditions including approval by regulatory agencies and the Teche shareholders. It is expected to close in the second quarter. Under the terms of the merger, Teche shareholders will receive 1.162 shares of IBERIABANK stock in exchange for each share of Teche common stock. Based on IBERIABANK's closing stock price on...

BancorpSouth acquires Monroe-based bank

Tupelo, Miss.-headquartered BancorpSouth has announced an agreement to acquire Monroe-based Ouachita Bancshares Corp. and its main subsidiary, Ouachita Independent Bank. It's BancorpSouth's first acquisition since 2007, the company says in a news release. BancorpSouth officials said OIB reported total assets of $652.5 million, loans of $477.8 million and total deposits of $549.7 million on Dec. 31, 2013. Under the agreement, The Associated Press reports, BancorpSouth will issue a maximum of 3.6 million shares of common stock plus $22.875 million in cash for the outstanding charges of Ouachita Bancshares. The terms of the agreement provide for a collar with respect to the total deal value ranging from $99 million to $112 million. If necessary, the share count will be adjusted downward or the cash consideration adjusted upward to accommodate the respective boundaries of the collar. "This transaction will give us the opportunity to significantly enhance our market share in both the...

KeyBank no longer involved in Perkins Rowe; sale could come soon

KeyBank National Association, the Ohio bank that for years was the main lender on the Perkins Rowe project—and plaintiff of record in the foreclosure lawsuit against developer Tommy Spinosa—has sold its remaining interest in the development to Istrouma Agent, Inc., a Delaware entity that was incorporated in November. In documents filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court, KeyBank officially asks the court to relieve it as agent and plaintiff in the long-running litigation. Though that litigation was mostly settled last August—when KeyBank and co-lender, Barclays, bought back the mixed-use development in a courthouse foreclosure sale—several unresolved legal issues remain. The banks also have yet to sell the development to a third-party, as had been expected. Whether Istrouma Agent will prove to be that buyer is unclear, though sources say it is likely. Court documents say only that in September, KeyBank sold its interest in the loan and the judgment to...

American banks post first quarterly loss since 2009

U.S. banks earned less in the July-September quarter than they did a year earlier, marking the first year-over-year decline in earnings since the spring of 2009 when the country was still mired in the Great Recession. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says the banking industry earned $36 billion in the third quarter, down $1.5 billion or 3.9% from the third quarter of 2012. The FDIC says the year-over-year earnings decline came primarily from a $4 billion increase in litigation expenses at a single institution. The FDIC did not name the institution. The Associated Press reports lower revenue from reduced mortgage activity and lower gains from asset sales also contributed to the reduction in earnings. Half of the nation's 6,891 insured banking institutions had year-over-year growth in earnings while half reported declines.

Home Bancorp to acquire Britton & Koontz in $34.5 million deal

Baton Rouge's three Britton & Koontz bank branches will be acquired by Lafayette-based Home Bancorp Inc. as part of a $34.5 million acquisition of the Natchez, Miss.-based bank announced this morning. Home Bancorp will acquire five Mississippi branches in addition to the Baton Rouge locations. "This acquisition is a great fit for our company on many levels," says John W. Bordelon, president and CEO of Home Bancorp, in a news release. "First and foremost is our shared commitment to doing what's best for our customers. As a result, both companies enjoy deep, longstanding relationships which have been, and will continue to be, the key to our success." Under the terms of the agreement, Britton & Koontz will be merged with and into Home Bank following the completion of the holding company merger. The agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both banks, according to the...

First Bank and Trust names Shill new Baton Rouge market president

New Orleans-headquartered First Bank and Trust has tapped Dennis Shill as its Baton Rouge market president, and the bank says it soon will form a new local advisory board to help it better meet the needs of its customers in the Capital Region. "The local economy has continued to improve, and our First Bank and Trust team is prepared to grow market share and continue to help the Baton Rouge market grow and prosper," says Shill in a news release issued this morning. Shill is no stranger to the Baton Rouge market. He served as the first market president and board director of Business First Bank when it was formed in 2006. An LSU graduate, Shill was also formerly employed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. First Bank and Trust says within the next month it will also announce a new local advisory board for the Baton Rouge market comprised of business and community leaders. A local leader will also be named to the First Trust Corporation Board of Directors, the bank's parent...

Investar announces plans for IPO

Baton Rouge-based Investar Bank has announced plans for an initial public offering, with officials eyeing an offering of $40 million of its common stock at $1 per share sometime next year. The bank has already received approval from the Federal Reserve for reorganization into a holding company structure, and it will hold a special meeting of shareholders on Oct. 31 to seek their approval. Under the plan, a bank holding company would be formed in which shareholders of the bank would become shareholders of Investar Holding Corp., and the bank would become a wholly owned subsidiary of the holding company. "The Holding Company has not yet finally determined the aggregate size of the offering, but will do so based on market conditions and other relevant factors at the time of the offering," reads a statement from Investar released this morning. "We currently anticipate that the offering will be completed in 2014; however, there can be no assurance as to whether or when the offering will...

Falling branches

If recent banking trends are indicative of the future, the once-common experience of strolling into a branch office and chatting with a teller who processes your deposit may be headed the way of the typewriter.

Investar buys Highland lot for new branch

Baton Rouge-based Investar Bank will build a new branch on a piece of vacant land off Highland Road that it purchased Wednesday, says Chris Pike of Mike Falgoust and Associates, who represented the bank in the deal. Investar bought the land, which is located in front of Alexander's Highland Market and measures about 30,000 square feet, for approximately $750,000 from Highland Marketplace LLC, which was represented by George Kurz of Kurz & Hebert Commercial Real Estate. "This deal has been in the works for years now; really, since that property was purchased (for Alexander's Highland Market) about six years ago," says Pike, who has represented Investar in its local land deals since the bank's inception. "They've wanted to let the grocery store and some other development take shape in that area before they started talking about closing on one of the outparcels, and we're finally there." Pike says he doesn't have any specific details on when the bank plans to build the branch, but...

Legal protection

Many of your online accounts—from banking payments to eBay—may remain active after you die, unless you take steps to ensure they don’t, says attorney Hillel Presser, coauthor of Financial Self-Defense.

'Business Report': Banks see demand for loans increase

The past several years have been something of a dry spell for commercial bankers. On the upside, a prolonged period of low interest rates has enabled them to pay next to nothing for deposits. But having a pile of cash on hand doesn't count for much when bankers can't make loans. Years of economic recession dampened borrowers' spirit. Now, bankers say, businesses are edging back to the table, though a true rebound could be a year or more away. "We're seeing businesses starting to make increased capital outlays to meet demand for their goods and services, and what follows from that is increased loan demand," says Robert Schneckenburger, Baton Rouge market president for Chase Bank. Ric Kearny, Baton Rouge area president for Capital One, says he has seen loan demand increase moderately this year, stemming from continued low interest rates and the nudge provided by an improving economy. Borrowers are coming from a variety of business sectors, he says: "It's been pretty much across the...

Capital One building sells

A group of investors led by David Weinstein and local architect Dyke Nelson acquired the Capital One Bank building today for $4.3 million. The new owners are looking for potential commercial tenants for the eight-story, 111,000-square-foot downtown building, while they explore options for mixed-use redevelopment that could include residential space. They also plan to immediately add a 6,000-square-foot ninth floor on the building for use as a penthouse office. "There's so much momentum right now that we just think that it's a good time to be investing in downtown," Nelson says. Several potential tenants have inquired about the space, but none has signed a lease yet, says Jonathan Walker of Masestri-Murrell, who represented the buyers in the deal and is marketing the property. Weinstein and Nelson signed a purchase agreement to acquire the building early this spring. Weinstein and Nelson are also involved in the redevelopment of the Tessier building on Lafayette Street; the Lafayette...

Promise and peril

Louisiana, along with every other state, has seen plenty of bank mergers over the years.

Balancing act

On a summer day in 2005, John D'Angelo had one of those awkward conversations with his wife that entrepreneurs sometimes have with their significant others.

Ready to grow

The past several years have been something of a dry spell for commercial bankers. On the upside, a prolonged period of low interest rates has enabled them to pay next to nothing for deposits. But having a pile of cash on hand doesn't count for much when bankers can't make loans.

3 Whitney branches to close in B.R.

The Whitney Bank branch at 2600 Citiplace Dr. is one of three in Baton Rouge closing as part of a previously announced plan to close 40 branches across Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida by the end of the year. Along with the Citiplace location, Baton Rouge closures include branches at 11659 Plank Road and 9800 Airline Highway. Though Whitney has not provided specifics on each closure yet, it says "most" will occur on Aug. 30, with the remaining to close by Dec. 31. Other branch closures in Louisiana will occur in Alexandria, Pineville, Algiers and LaPlace. "Because affected associates can retain jobs through closure dates, will receive appropriate transition benefits, and can apply for other open positions, estimating job impact is premature," Whitney says in a release. The closures stem from the 2011 acquisition of Whitney by Hancock Holding Co. Branches of the merged banks continue to operate under the Whitney brand name in Louisiana and Texas. You can see a list...

Loan demand rising in Capital Region, Whitney market president says

Whitney Bank has approximately $80 million in pent-up loan demand in the Capital Region, according to Troy Hebert, Baton Rouge market president. That represents about 25% more loan requests than the bank had in its pipeline last year at this time, which suggests the economy is continuing to improve, albeit slowly. "We are starting to see more and more demand," says Hebert, adding that the requests for financing are coming from all sectors—industrial and petrochemical, real estate, and a variety of small and medium-size businesses. "A lot of companies are coming into this market or expanding into this market." Between 60% and 75% of deals in Whitney's pipeline, on average, will receive approval, says Hebert. Included among them will be a small amount of loans for speculative building, something this market hasn't seen in a long time. "We aren't telling builders to go out and build 50 spec homes," Hebert says. "But there are some select projects where it makes sense." In 2011...

First Community Bank shareholders OK acquisition by Investar

The shareholders of Hammond-based First Community Holding Co. today approved a previously announced acquisition by Baton Rouge-based Investar Bank. The deal, which was first announced in January, is expected to close May 1, according to a release from Investar. The conversion of the First Community branches to Investar locations will take place June 20-23. Until then, "First Community customers will see no changes in their banking services and should continue to use their checks, make loan payments, conduct online banking and take advantage of other First Community services as before," reads the statement. Following the deal, Investar will have nine total branches. More details can be found here.