BancorpSouth acquires Austin-based bank

BancorpSouth-Launches-Free-Banking-App-for-iPhone-2By Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

TUPELO – BancorpSouth went deep into the heart of Texas for its latest acquisition.

The company announced Wednesday a $209.5 million deal in which it would acquire Temple, Texas-based Central Community Corp., the parent of Austin-based First State Bank Central Texas.

First State is the largest independent bank in Austin, and adds 31 locations to BancorpSouth’s footprint in Texas. Eleven of the full-service locations are in the Austin-Round Rock area and another 11 in the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area.

There are no overlapping offices between the two banks. BancorpSouth does have 21 locations in east Texas.

The merger, expected to be complete by the second quarter of this year, is BancorpSouth’s second in two weeks. On Jan. 8, it announced a merger with Ouachita Bancshares of West Monroe, La., in a deal worth up to $112 million.

Prior to that announcement, it had been nearly seven years since BancorpSouth had acquired another bank.

The First State merger will move BancorpSouth’s share of the Texas market from 65th to 29th.

Central Community has total assets of $1.3 billion, total loans of $555.5 million and total deposits of $1.1 billion.

It is the second merger under BancorpSouth CEO Dan Rollins, who joined the company in November 2012.

It’s also familiar territory for Rollins, who was president and COO of Houston, Texas-based Prosperity Bancshares.

Industry watchers have speculated when he took the BancorpSouth post that he would look to his home state to grow his new bank.

In an interview with the Daily Journal shortly after he joined the company, Rollins said, “From an opportunity standpoint, if you’re talking about mergers and acquisitions, Texas is a target-rich environment. … if you’re going to go fishing, go where the fish are.”

“This merger will give us the opportunity to expand our footprint into the vibrant central Texas market,” Rollins said of Thursday’s merger deal. “The Austin, Texas, MSA consistently ranks at or near the top of almost all statistical publications regarding economic drivers and activity. First State Bank has an operating philosophy and culture that will be a great fit with our bank and we expect their team to be an integral component of BancorpSouth’s ability to continue to grow.”

Under the terms of the agreement with Central Community Corp., BancorpSouth will swap about 7.25 million shares of BancorpSouth stock plus $28.5 million in cash for CCC stock.

BancorpSouth made the announcement after the markets closed, but its shares finished 17 cents higher on Wednesday to $25.14.

It also announced fourth-quarter earnings of $27.7 million, or 29 cents a share.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com