Arvest Bank Closes on Bear State Acquisition

Arvest Bank Closes on Bear State Acquisition

Arvest Bank of Fayetteville said Friday that it closed on its previously announced acquisition of Bear State Financial Inc. of Little Rock, the parent company of Bear State Bank.

The $391 million cash deal puts privately held Arvest's assets at nearly $18.8 billion. The deal adds new communities to Arvest's operations in northeast Arkansas, southwest Arkansas, southern Missouri and southeast Oklahoma.

"We are pleased to welcome Bear State customers and associates to Arvest," Arvest marketing director Jason Kincy said in a news release. "We have expressed from the beginning of this acquisition how excited we are to add these desirable communities to our footprint. Now we will start working together to combine the two companies to benefit our customers and the communities we serve."

Arvest and Bear State will continue to operate under separate names until sometime this fall, when Bear State branches, accounts and operations will be transitioned to Arvest. Until then, Arvest said, customers should continue banking at their current bank locations.

As of Dec. 31, Arvest had assets of $16.7 billion, with $10.4 billion in loans and $14.4 billion in deposits.

Arkansas Business reported on April 3 that the deal was expected to close on April 20. First announced in August, the acquisition is the biggest ever for Arvest. It attracted a trio of shareholder lawsuits seeking class-action status, only one of which remained active earlier this month.

As a condition for its approval of the deal, the Federal Reserve required Bear State to divest of its two Mena locations. Bear State sold the branches to El Dorado's First Financial Bank.

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