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Sister Banks Set Merger For Q1 of Next Year

2 min read

The pending merger of the two lenders owned by Mena’s Union Bankshares Inc. will create a bank that ranks among the 30 largest in Arkansas.

Based on Sept. 30 financial reports, the combination of Union Bank of Mena and First National Bank of Paris would rank as the state’s 28th-largest bank with total assets topping $614 million.

The $259.3 million-asset First National will be folded into the $354.8 million-asset Union Bank. Going forward under the Union banner, the combined lenders will deploy a staff of 112.

Founded on Sept. 1, 1891, First National operates six full-service locations in Paris, Caulksville (Logan County), Waldron, Booneville, Clarksville and Ozark. The bank became a Union Bankshares subsidiary with the 2005 sale of its parent company, First Paris Holding Co.

Union Bank operates three full-service offices in the Polk County communities of Mena, Wickes and Hatfield. Established on July 25, 1934, the bank holds a 59.04% share of deposits in Mena ($259 million) and is the only lender in Wickes ($23.3 million in deposits) and Hatfield ($12.2 million in deposits).

Simmons Branching

Pine Bluff’s Simmons Bank moved forward with new branch plans in three states during the fourth quarter.

The $27.5 billion-asset lender is expanding its footprint in Wichita, Kansas, and setting up shop in two new cities: Kansas City, Missouri, and Cleveland, Tennessee.

In Kansas City, Simmons is working on an office at 1200 Grand Blvd., on the edge of downtown’s Power & Light District.

Fayetteville’s Arvest Bank is the only Arkansas lender among 31 banks in Kansas City’s $34.8 billion-deposit market. Arvest ranks No. 12 with deposits of $154.8 million (0.44%).

Simmons intends to operate in the historic Union Station Grand Terminal at 701 E. Douglas Ave., which will be its fourth location in Wichita.

The bank ranks No. 16 with deposits of $125 million. That represents a 0.71% share of the $17.7 billion-deposit market, home to 35 bank competitors.

Simmons entered the Wichita market in October 2010 via the FDIC-assisted purchase of Security Savings Bank of Olathe, Kansas.

In May 2018, the bank expanded on that by adding two Bank SNB branches through its $567.5 million acquisition of Southwest Bancorp of Stillwater, Oklahoma.

In Tennessee, Simmons has its eyes on a former Truist Bank branch at 86 Stuart Road in Cleveland.

No Arkansas banks number among the competitive field of a dozen banks in the $2.3 billion-deposit market, northeast of Chattanooga.

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