Arvest Bank to Purchase 29 Bank of America Branches in 4 States

Arvest Bank of Fayetteville announced Thursday that it has agreed to buy 29 bank branches in four states, including Arkansas, from Bank of America Corp.

The purchase, which includes "most deposit accounts and loans" associated with the branches, is subject to regulatory approvals, which the companies expect to receive in the first quarter of 2013.

Officials with Arvest, the state's largest bank when ranked by deposits, declined to reveal the price tag of the pending transaction. The deal comes a year after Bank of America vowed to cut $5 billion in costs per year by 2014, cut 30,000 jobs and shed 750 bank branches.

"We had the opportunity, and it looked like a good fit for us," John Womack, chairman and CEO of Arvest's central Arkansas operations, told Arkansas Business. "We're excited to have this new customer base when it's approved."

The new bank branches -- in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri -- complement existing Arvest markets. The new branches represent about $750 million in deposits in total.

The agreement includes nine branches in Arkansas in Harrison, Hot Springs, Hot Springs Village, Mountain Home and Russellville. The deal includes 15 branches in Missouri, four in Oklahoma and one in Kansas. 

Those nine branches had combined deposits of $278.8 million as of June 30, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s summary of deposits. That's about 9 percent of the $3.13 billion in total deposits Bank of America claimed in Arkansas at the mid-year mark.

In all, Arvest had almost $6.45 billion in Arkansas deposits and more than $11.5 billion in deposits across its four-state footprint.  

After selling nine of its 37 Arkansas branches to Arvest, Bank of America will have no branches left in Baxter, Boone, Garland or Pope counties. 

Click here (PDF) to see the Arvest branch locations in Arkansas and here (PDF) to see all branches in the four-state area.

The Deal

Under the agreement, Arvest said it will buy "certain assets, including eighteen branch locations owned by Bank of America, most deposit accounts such as checking, savings, IRAs and CDs," along with lease obligations for 11 other branches. The deal does not include credit card, mortgage, brokerage or trust accounts, Arvest said.

Each of the new branches will join "one of Arvest's nearby locally managed community markets." The company expects "many" Bank of America employees to transition to Arvest and keep their jobs.

"This acquisition of these locations demonstrates Arvest’s commitment to meet the financial service needs of individuals and companies in Arkansas communities," Womack said in a news release. "We are very excited to welcome these Bank of America customers and assure them we will be working hard over the next few months to provide a seamless transition to Arvest Bank."

In all, Arvest controlled 12 percent of statewide bank deposits as of June 30, stretching out its lead over No. 2 Regions Bank. In terms of market share, it is No. 1 in Benton and Washington counties.

Arvest, owned by Wal-Mart founders the Walton family, earned $42 million last year and is on pace for $50 million in net income this year.

Bank of America is ranked No. 4 in Arkansas by deposits, with 38 branches and $3.1 billion in deposits.

George Waldon and Gwen Moritz contributed to this report.