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First Arkansas Bank Buys BV Card Assets, Will Offer Credit Cards to Customers

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First Arkansas Bank & Trust of Jacksonville said Thursday that it has purchased the remaining stock of BV Card Assets LLC of Atlanta, taking 100 percent control of the credit card company.

Larry Wilson, chairman and CEO of First Arkansas, said sole ownership of the company will allow First Arkansas to begin issuing credit cards to its own customers early in the second quarter.

"We have not been in the credit card business in the past, and this purchase gives us the critical mass to begin issuing credit cards to our own customers," Wilson said.

BV Card Assets has an outstanding balance of $115 million and about 80,000 active customers, including individuals and small businesses, mostly in the Southeast. Wilson called the portfolio a "consistent revenue producer."

The LLC purchased the portfolio from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2010. The FDIC acquired it when it took over the portfolio’s parent company, Silverton Bank of Atlanta.

Before this week, First Arkansas had controlled only 18 percent of BV Card Assets. The Arkansas State Bank Department approved First Arkansas’ purchase of the remaining stock on Monday.

Wilson said First Arkansas will retain BV Card Assets’ management team, and the operation will remain in Atlanta.

First Arkansas has 23 locations in central Arkansas. The family-owned bank, in business for more than 60 years, has $650 million in total assets.

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