What b1Bank’s $85.7M acquisition of a Texas community bank means

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Baton Rouge-based Business First Bancshares Inc., the holding company for b1Bank, on Thursday announced that it is acquiring Texas-based Oakwood Bancshares Inc. and its wholly owned bank subsidiary, Oakwood Bank, for $85.7 million.

News of the acquisition comes at a time when many are switching to community banks, pushing back against a wave of consolidation that has concentrated deposits and loans in the hands of a few banking juggernauts.

In recent years, b1Bank’s holding company has also acquired Pedestal Bancshares Inc., Texas Citizens Bankcorp Inc. and Waterstone LSP.

Once the transaction is completed, b1Bank’s consolidated total assets are expected to increase to approximately $7.4 billion with over $5.6 billion in consolidated total loans.

As a result of the deal, b1Bank would add four full-service banking centers in Dallas, one in Oakwood, Texas, and one in Snyder, Texas. B1Bank first entered the Dallas market in 2017 when it opened a loan production office.

The acquisition would see the percentage of Texas loans in b1Bank’s portfolio increase from 37.1% to 44.4%, while the percentage of Texas deposits in its portfolio would jump from 19.3% to 30.6%.

“Expansion in the Dallas market has been a … focus of b1Bank for a number of years,” says b1Bank President and CEO Jude Melville. “We believe the proposed transaction with Oakwood is an effective and efficient way to deepen our customer, employee and shareholder bases in what is arguably one of America’s strongest markets.”

Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Business First Bancshares would issue 3,973,469 shares of its common stock and pay cash in lieu of fractional shares to Oakwood Bancshares shareholders. Once the deal is completed, those former shareholders would own approximately 13.5 percent of the combined company.

B1Bank has also recently joined forces with LSU on a veterans’ initiative, launched a new derivatives service line and partnered with a Virginia-based data analytics company specializing in community banking and finance.