Centennial Bank Looks to Bag More FDIC Transactions This Year

by George Waldon  on Monday, May. 3, 2010 12:00 am  

Randy Sims, CEO of Home BancShares and its Centennial Bank: "We're still on the hunt."

FDIC Sales Present Twice-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

Johnny Allison, chairman of Conway's Home BancShares Inc., did a double-take when he learned the federal government was intervening in the ownership of financial institutions across the nation.

"This is the second time in my lifetime I've seen an opportunity like this come along," Allison said of the FDIC sale. "You can't stand around and look at it. You have to move. When we saw the opportunity, we moved."

Similar opportunities presented themselves during the S&L crisis. But thrifts weren't the only lenders up for grabs during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Allison, then a director and leading shareholder in Little Rock's First Commercial Corp., was actively pursuing deals to expand the company's holdings in east Texas.

In 1993, First Commercial bought banks in Tyler and Lufkin with combined total assets of $366.8 million from the failed First City Bancorp of Texas Inc. in Houston. Nearly $283 million in total assets were added later that year with the purchase of banks in Longview and Nacogdoches from Houston's Texas Commerce Bank.

How long will the window of opportunity stay open for this second deal of a lifetime?

"I think we have a run of 18 to 24 months," Allison said. "I would have hoped we have secured the assets we intend to secure in the next nine months. I'm talking about the assisted transactions. Then you'll start seeing the market transactions start coming around."



Please read our comments policy before commenting.