Bear State to Buy Missouri Bank for $70M

Bear State to Buy Missouri Bank for $70M

Bear State Financial Inc. of Little Rock, the publicly traded holding company for Bear State Bank, announced Monday that it will pay $70 million for a bank in Springfield, Missouri.

The purchase of Metropolitan National Bank, with $442 million in total assets, will push Bear State's asset base to approximately $2 billion. Metropolitan has 12 branches in six Missouri counties, which will expand Bear State's network to 55 (two of which are in southeast Oklahoma) 

Bear State Financial will pay approximately $42 million in stock and $28 million in cash for Metropolitan, and the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, according to the press release.

Bear State, formerly First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas and headquartered in Harrison, tripled its assets to about $1.5 million a year ago by acquiring First National Security Co. of Hot Springs, the holding company of First National Bank of Hot Springs and Heritage Bank of Jonesboro. Those banks were merged with the former First Federal Bank of Harrison and renamed Bear State Bank.

Mark McFatridge, CEO of Metropolitan, is expected to remain with the Bear State management team and to join the corporate board of directors, as will one unnamed Metropolitan board member.

Although it isn't mentioned in Bear State's news release, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. lists Metropolitan's holding company as Marshfield Investment Co. Employee Stock Ownership Plan & Trust. The bank reported net income of $2 million in 2014 for an annual return on assets of 0.45 percent, and income of $106,000 in the first quarter, an ROA of 0.10 percent.