Content tagged “Banking”

Two BR credit unions merge

A pair of Baton Rouge-based credit unions have merged. Officials from Louisiana Farm Bureau Credit Union, which has no physical branch location but has serviced Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance employees since 1971, say they sought merger proposals from "some of the area's larger credit unions." They ended up selecting Pelican State Credit Union to merge with, due to "its family-like atmosphere and the distance it goes to help its members," officials say in a press release. Financial terms of the merger were not disclosed. Louisiana Farm Bureau Credit Union will now operate under the Pelican brand. "The merger gives Farm Bureau members access to 11 full-service locations, an ATM in Farm Bureau's main headquarters and an array of products and services not previously available including checking accounts, free credit counseling and online banking," says Pelican CEO Jeffrey K. Conrad in a prepared statement. Of Pelican's 11 locations throughout the state, local branches are located in...

Inside the acquisition

As its name suggests, Business First Bank has positioned and promoted itself since the day it first opened its doors as a commercial lending institution with a focus on business clients.

One big bank

The merger of Baton Rouge-based banks Business First and American Gateway will create what is expected to be the largest locally headquartered community bank.

Sonya Burton

Business First Bank was just a year old in 2007, when Sonya Burton joined it in the role of internal auditor and compliance officer. "I was interested in Business First Bank specifically because it was such a young institution," Burton says. An alumna of LSU's Graduate School of Banking, she saw the move as "an exciting prospect": "To be able to establish a risk program from the ground up was a huge opportunity," she says. Her role at BFB grew "organically," in tandem with the bank's growth. "I was given the opportunity to view risk from a more comprehensive level," she says, "while we filled out the risk department with individuals who could specialize in a particular area." In March the bank announced that, to take advantage of strategic growth opportunities, it was reorganizing into three geographic regions, each with its own CEO, yet "centralizing enterprise risk management." Burton was promoted to the new role of chief risk officer, overseeing activities in all three...

Red River Bank buys Home Bank branch on Bluebonnet for $1.35M

Red River Bank has finalized its second purchase of a Baton Rouge bank branch this week by closing on the Home Bank branch at 8810 Bluebonnet Blvd., between Perkins and Highland roads, for $1.35 million. But unlike the Red River purchase of the former Teche Federal Bank at 5063 Essen Lane for $2.4 million, announced Tuesday, bank officials say they're not looking at taking over the Bluebonnet branch. Home Bancorp will continue to lease the space, says Red River Bank Baton Rouge Market President Joanie Montelaro. "Red River doesn't have any immediate plans for utilizing the property," she says. "It's under lease for a couple of years." Still, Montelaro says the property fits well with Red River Bank's expansion plans in Baton Rouge, which include opening the newly acquired Essen Lane location in January 2015 and completing

Red River Bank buys former Teche branch on Essen

Just three months after purchasing the site for its sixth bank in Baton Rouge, Red River Bank today announced its plans for another branch in the Capital Region. The Louisiana bank has acquired an existing building at 5063 Essen Lane near Our Lady of the Lake Hospital for an undisclosed price. The building formerly housed a Teche Federal Bank and recently became available following the merger of Teche and IBERIABANK, which was completed in June. "Red River Bank is committed to serving the financial needs of the people in the greater Baton Rouge area," says Joanie Montelaro, Red River Bank Baton Rouge market president, in a press release. "Therefore, we are strategically placing banking centers in convenient and accessible locations to meet those needs." Montelaro says Red River Bank plans to open the Essen Lane location's doors in January 2015. The bank recently announced its...

Merger of Business First, American Gateway to create largest locally based community bank

The merger of Baton Rouge-based banks Business First and American Gateway, as first reported by Daily Report this morning, will bring together one of the youngest banking institutions in the area with one of the oldest to create what is expected to be the largest locally headquartered community bank. It will also bring together a leading business banking institution and one that has a long-established personal banking portfolio. Though it's been just under nine years since Business First was founded by a group of businessmen including former Gov. Buddy Roemer—who now serves as chairman emeritus—president and CEO Jude Melville says the bank has grown very quickly and has already achieved a statewide reach. However, Business First has just one Baton Rouge location. Meanwhile, at 106 years old, American Gateway has a long local history and 10 branches spread across...

News alert: BR banks Business First, American Gateway to merge

The parent holding companies of Baton Rouge-based banks Business First and American Gateway have inked a definitive agreement under which American Gateway Financial Corp. will be merged with and into Business First Bancshares Inc., the banks jointly announced. Upon completion of the merger at the holding company level—which is expected in the fourth quarter and is still subject to some shareholder and regulatory approvals—American Gateway Bank will be merged with and into Business First Bank. The combined entity will operate under the Business First brand and include 16 branch locations, more than $1 billion in assets, $870 million in deposits, $700 million in loans and $100 million in equity. In a press release, officials say the merger will significantly expand both institutions' reach in the greater Baton Rouge market and Louisiana at large. The merged institution is expected to be the largest community bank headquartered in Baton Rouge as measured by deposits. "While...

IBERIABANK moves into Dallas market with acquisition of First Private

Lafayette-based IBERIABANK says it has completed its acquisition of Dallas-based First Private Holdings Inc., which owns First Private Bank. With banking and wealth management branches in Dallas and West Plano, First Private Bank reported total assets of $358 million as of March 31, as well as $277 million in gross loans and $319 million in total deposits. Prior to the acquisition, IBERIABANK has not had branch locations in the Dallas area. "We are very excited about the growth prospects and client development opportunities of our combined organization in the dynamic Dallas market," says IBERIABANK President and CEO Daryl G. Byrd in a prepared statement issued this morning. Under the terms of the deal, shareholders of First Private Bank will receive 0.27 shares of IBERIABANK common...

La. ranked seventh best state for affordable banking

Louisiana is among the nation's best states for affordable banking, according to a report released today by GoBankingRates.com, a website focused on banking, interest rates and personal finance that's run by Los Angeles-based Internet marketing firm ConsumerTrack Inc. Louisiana ranks No. 7, according to the website, which evaluated data gathered from its own database of interest rates, aggregated from Informa Research Services, as well as deposit account fee information from RateWatch.com, which is run by New York-based TheStreet Inc. "The easy answer to what makes banking affordable is high yields on bank accounts and low fees, but there is much more to it than that," says RateWatch Business Development Specialist James Zussman in a prepared statement. "Because financial institutions are continuously looking to increase non-interest revenue, consumers really need to pay attention to the fees they are being charged." Arkansas is ranked as the nation's best state for affordable...

Red River Bank finalizes purchase of Acadian-Perkins parcel for $901,000

Red River Bank's much-anticipated purchase of a disputed half-acre parcel in the parking lot of Jon Claitor's Acadian-Perkins Plaza shopping center was finalized yesterday evening. Following the Louisiana Supreme Court's recent refusal to hear the long-running case between Claitor and Laurence Brooks, who is the seller of the parcel, Red River Bank acquired the tract, which is located on the corner of Perkins Road and South Acadian Thruway, for $901,000, according to records filed with the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court. As Daily Report has previously reported, Red River Bank has been waiting for the court case to make its way through the system before closing on the deal and beginning construction on a new 2,500-square-foot bank—its sixth branch in the Capital Region—which will be completed in 2015. "It's on the way to just about everything, making it the...

Guaranty Bank to acquire Bank of Maringouin

The holding company of New Roads-based Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. has reached an agreement to acquire the holding company of the Bank of Maringouin, the banks announced today. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Bank of Maringouin was founded in 1903, has $55 million in assets and two branches, one in Maringouin and another in Grosse Tete. "This is an exciting day for Bank of Maringouin as we partner with a strong community bank like Guaranty Bank," says Bank of Maringouin President and CEO Mel Chustz in a press release. "By combining our two teams and resources, we will be able to offer more financial options for our customers. We look forward to a strong future as a result of this partnership." Guaranty Bank opened in 1956, has $141 million in assets and four banking locations: New Roads, Livonia, Port Allen and Zachary. "This partnership will not only...

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...