Gleason: BOZ Will Aggressively Seek Business, More Acquisitions

by George Waldon  on Thursday, Jul. 14, 2011 11:47 am  

George Gleason, Bank of the Ozarks chairman and CEO.

Bank of the Ozarks is positioned to keep profiting from the erratic wave of FDIC-assisted acquisitions that boosted its second quarter results to extraordinary heights.

"We want to take full advantage of this unique opportunity," said George Gleason chairman and CEO. "It is a very important time for our company."

Gleason met with investors by teleconference call this morning to go over the stellar second quarter results and discuss the company's future prospects.

Bank of the Ozarks yesterday announced record second-quarter earnings of $50.2 million, compared to $10.9 million a year ago. Of the 361 percent increase, $36.4 million was attributed to two Georgia acquisitions facilitated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The company's purchase of First Choice Community Bank of Dallas, Ga., and The Park Avenue Bank of Valdosta, Ga., marked its sixth and seventh FDIC-assisted deals.

"We certainly hope to do more FDIC-assisted acquisitions in 2011 and 2012, and possibly extending into 2013," Gleason said.

To date, the company has tallied a successful bid rate of one out of seven for insolvent lenders.

One negative aspect of the FDIC-assisted acquisitions is retarded loan growth caused by creeping conservatism from taking over problem assets at other banks, he said.

Bank of the Ozarks has taken steps to negate this effect on its native conservatism and ensure loan officers maintain an "offensive-minded stance."

"We have a robust net interest margin," Gleason said. "We can afford to take additional reductions in pricing to get the business.

"We want to be a little more open minded and take advantage of great business opportunities out there."

He said the company intends to compete for loans, battle for new customers and build quality business relationships to grow its loan portfolio.



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