Centennial Bank Buys Gulf State Community Bank of Florida in FDIC-assisted Deal

by Gwen Moritz  on Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 4:15 pm  

Centennial Bank of Conway continued its march across Florida on Friday with an announcement that it will acquire failed Gulf State Community Bank of Carrabelle, Fla., in another purchase assisted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

It is the company's latest in a string of FDIC-assisted purchases of failed banks. On Oct. 1, it bought Wakulla Bank of Crawfordville, Fla., in the Florida Panhandle. In July, it purchased two banks in Florida, Coastal Community Bank and Bayside Savings Bank.

John Allison, the chairman of Centennial's parent company Home Bancshares Inc. of Conway (Nasdaq: HOMB), told shareholders in April that the company was still on the hunt for more Florida banks after its successful bids for $315 million asset Old Southern Bank of Orlando and $87.5 million asset Key West Bank.

Centennial had $3.03 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, a number that will approach $3.5 billion thanks to subsequent acquisitions. 

Gulf State's five branches will reopen Saturday as branches of Centennial Bank, which already had 44 branches in Florida. It has 52 branches in Arkansas.

Carrabelle is about 60 miles southeast of Tallahassee. According to a press release from Home BancShares, the Gulf State acquisition will give Centennial the top deposit market share in both Franklin and Wakulla counties in the Florida Panhandle.

Gulf State had $112.1 million in assets as of Sept. 30 and had lost nearly $4.3 million through the first nine months of the year. This performance follwed annual losses of more than $7.5 million in 2009, $2.4 million in 2008 and $1.4 million in 2007.

Centennial did not pay the FDIC a premium to assume Gulf State's $100 million in deposits. It will also assume essentially all of the bank's assets, with a loss-share agreement with the FDIC limiting its risk on $84.4 million worth of assets. 

Gulf State Community Bank had 60 employees as of Sept. 30, according to its quarterly call report filed with the FDIC.

In May, Arkansas Business wrote about the company's plans to make such purchases



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