LaFrances Lead Investors Through Wisconsin's Greenwood's State Bank

by George Waldon  on Monday, May. 12, 2014 12:00 am  

The projects are owned by different limited liability companies managed through the Little Rock office of Colliers with Arkansas ownership connections to the Wisconsin bank.

LaFrance said the Arkansas real estate loans were directed to Greenwood's State Bank with an eye toward profitable diversification.

"They're a small community bank focusing on small community loans," he said. "We're trying to help the bank put good loans on the books. They don't get as many opportunities to make commercial real estate loans."

While the bank has made a handful of loan forays into Arkansas thanks to its contingent of Little Rock investors, there is no intention to expand Greenwood's presence in the state beyond the role of occasional lender.

The bank has expanded in Wisconsin during the past 18 months, buying the $76.3 million-asset Bank of Monticello near Madison, opening a wealth-management operation and purchasing the Mills Lake branch of Associated Bank of Green Bay.

“Our main focus is on acquiring banks up here in Wisconsin,” said Bill McDonald, CEO of Greenwood’s. “We’re looking at a lot of things right now. It’s a good market for what we’re trying to do up here.”

McDonald has talked to banks in the $100 million to $200 million asset size in hopes of striking more deals.

“Greenwood’s is positioned to be a buyer,” he said. “We have a lot of charters in Wisconsin and a lot of banks in the $400 million-asset and smaller size.”

McDonald is coming up on his fourth anniversary with Greenwood’s after a 25-year career in public accounting, with much of his work focused on banking.

Setting the stage for his arrival at the bank was a $3 million loss in 2009.

“We had to decide what to do with it,” LaFrance said. Management was replaced, and more capital was raised to solidify the bank, which led to increased Arkansas ownership.

McDonald was brought in to turn the bank around after “significant issues” arose and its affiliated credit corporation geared toward pharmacy lending was wound down because of changing market conditions.



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