Price Stalls Deal on Ownership Change at Delta Trust

by George Waldon  on Monday, May. 6, 2013 12:00 am  

Delta Trust Cast of Characters: The players in whether there will be a change in ownership at Delta Trust Banking Corp.

The venture is built on the foundation of SouthEast Arkansas Bank in Parkdale (Ashley County), a lender that had $58 million in assets in 1999.

The founding families (Pugh, de Yampert and Currie) still maintain a stake in the bank, chartered back in 1910.

Among the 2009 crop of new shareholders was Chris Roberts, who had joined Delta Trust & Bank as president that year after resigning as president of Centennial Bank’s Little Rock operations on March 17.

Following his arrival and the boost in capital, Delta Trust recorded its three best years for loan income, which coincided with its three best years of profitability.

“Chris brought us a lot of help for sure, and we’ve added some loan officers for more capacity,” said a longtime Delta Trust shareholder.

Roberts rose to prominence as the chief executive officer who guided another south Arkansas bank charter on a three-year run to a lucrative payday.

He was an original investor in Centennial Bank, established on the charter of Pine State Bank of Kingsland (Cleveland County), purchased in December 2004 for $2.7 million. Like SouthEast Arkansas Bank, the renamed Pine State operations were moved to Little Rock.

In January 2008, Centennial had total assets of about $228 million (about the same size as Delta Trust at the time) when it was sold for more than $23.9 million to Home BancShares Inc. of Conway.

Delta’s branch expansion beyond Little Rock and southeast Arkansas extended to northwest Arkansas 11 years ago.

A branch in Bella Vista remains from a 2001 deal with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for assets formerly part of Sinclair National Bank at Gravette.

A Fayetteville branch was opened in 2009, and Delta intends to convert its loan production office in Conway to a full service branch. The loan production office opened in 2011.

The $1 billion-asset mark is a fiscal target of interest for Delta Trust to gain efficiencies and position itself as a dynamic, ongoing concern. The path to achieving that critical mass is still being charted.



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