Arvest Bank Is Buying National Banking Corp.

by George Waldon and Lance Turner  on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 12:05 pm  

John Womack, chairman and CEO of Arvest Bank in Little Rock, said the purchase will "help improve our market share and visibility" in four central Arkansas cities. (Photo by Mike Pirnique)

Arvest Bank is buying National Banking Corp., the holding company of North Little Rock's National Bank of Arkansas, the two companies announced Wednesday.

A purchase price was not immediately known, but the bank's equity capital was $15.5 million as of June 30.

The deal is set to close in November, subject to regulatory approval. The companies said the merger of NBA branches and customer accounts into Arvest should occur in late in the fourth quarter or early in the first quarter.

At last report, the two largest shareholders in National Banking Corp. were Bobby J. Osborne, NBC's largest shareholder and chairman of the board, at about 55 percent; and Charles "Skip" Davidson, NBC's second largest shareholder, at about 25 percent.

"Making the decision to sell was difficult, but knowing that the new owner will take good care of our NBA customers has made it easier," Osborne said in a prepared statement. "I believe that right now is the right time to sell NBA and Arvest Bank is the right acquirer." 

"We are excited about National Bank of Arkansas becoming part of the Arvest Family," John Womack, chairman and CEO of Arvest Bank in Little Rock, said in a statement. "This acquisition will certainly help improve our market share and visibility in Conway, Maumelle, North Little Rock, and West Little Rock. We are looking forward to getting acquainted with NBA's associates and customers."

Chartered in 1982, National Bank of Arkansas has seven locations in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood, Maumelle and Conway. As of June 30, it reported total assets of $186.7 million and a staff of 80.

The bank recorded a loss of $44,000 through the first six months of this year after ending 2012 with an $8,000 profit. Its president is James S. "Jim" Renk.

National Bank of Arkansas is still operating under a 2009 agreement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The agreement, which required improvement in lending policies and procedural changes, led to Renk being named president. Renk replaced Mike Mathes, who held the post for several years after coming from Conway as the market president for U.S. Bank.

Arvest is conducting the purchase through Arvest Holding Company Inc., a subsidiary of Arvest Bank Group Inc. Per the deal, it will buy 100 percent, or 93,843 shares, of issued and outstanding National Bank Corp. stock. Arvest said it will be filing applications with the Arkansas State Bank Department and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis for approval.

With assets exceeding $11 billion, Arvest is the largest bank in Arkansas. Owned by Wal-Mart founders the Walton family, it has more than 240 locations that are part of 16 locally managed banks in in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Earlier this year, Arvest closed on its purchase of 29 bank branches in four states, including Arkansas, from Bank of America Corp.

The deal is the latest in a string of Arkansas bank consolidations in 2013:

  • June 25 - Home BancShares Inc. of Conway, the publicly traded parent of Centennial Bank, announced a $280 million deal to purchase Wallace Fowler’s Liberty Bancshares Inc. of Jonesboro. The deal, set to close late this month, will create the second-largest Arkansas-chartered bank.
  • July 1 - First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas, the publicly traded parent company of First Federal Bank of Harrison, announced a $124 million cash and stock deal to acquire First National Security Co., the holding company for First National Bank of Hot Springs and Heritage Bank in Jonesboro. The combination, set to close in the fourth quarter, will almost triple First Federal Bancshares’ assets to about $1.4 billion and expand its branch network.
  • July 5 - Rogers Bancshares Inc. announced Chapter 11 bankruptcy to facilitate the sale of Metropolitan at auction, preferably to "stalking horse" bidder Ford Financial Fund II of Dallas, which later said it would inject $74 million in new capital into Metropolitan. But Arvest and Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff competed for the bank, and Simmons emerged the successful bidder.



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