Harrell Bancshares to Acquire Two Benton County Signature Branches

by Worth Sparkman  on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 11:42 am  

A Bounce Back

Phil Foster, president and CEO of First Bank speaking from his Camden office, said Northwest Arkansas has "had some difficult times, but we believe it's an area that will bounce back and we're excited to be up there."

The bank's loan portfolio contains a lot of timber industry-related, consumer and residential loans, Foster said. Commercial is much slower in that part of the state, he said.  

Gary Head, chairman and CEO of White River Bancshares Inc., the holding company for Signature, did not immediately return a phone call.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., First Bank had six offices in three counties, with $178.6 million in total assets and $154.3 million in deposits as of June 30.

The bank reported total net income of $856,000 for the first nine months of the year, according to its call report on file with the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.

The transaction will set a new record of deposit-taking banks doing business in Benton and Washington counties. There now will be 31 unique banks competing for a total of $7.07 billion in deposits (a June 30 number).

The Rogers offices of Intrust Bank NA of Kansas began taking deposit in late 2009 and Great Southern Bank of Springfield, Mo. began taking deposits in May of this year. Both had operated loan production offices in Benton County for several years.

By comparison, there were 28 banks in June 2007 and total two-county deposits of $8.46 billion. But the 2007 number was skewed by ANB Financial's deposits, much of which were brokered to keep up with its lending.

In 2005, there were 24 banks doing business in Benton and Washington counties, competing for a little more than $6 billion in deposits.



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