Magazine article American Banker

No Secrets in This For-Sale Ad

Magazine article American Banker

No Secrets in This For-Sale Ad

Article excerpt

Most banks looking to sell themselves try to keep the process as secretive as possible, but a small one in Wyoming has taken a different tack: advertising in The Wall Street Journal.

Uinta County State Bank of Mountain View, with $11 million of assets, took out a three-line classified ad on May 8, and as of last week it had received about 60 inquiries and even a few offers, said Howard Woody, a bank director and its vice president.

"Some are better than others," Mr. Woody said.

Uinta was actually one of two banks advertised for sale in the Journal's "The Mart" section that day, but its ad was unusual, because it included the bank's name and phone number. "Bank-for-sale" ads rarely include such information and usually list a phone number for an investment banker or attorney.

The 84-year-old bank was put the block after its president, Caldwell J. Dykes, died in March at the age of 76. Mr. Dykes held 80% of its stock, and his will required that the value of the stock be put in a trust for his heirs. Rather than put the stock directly into a trust, Uinta's directors decided to sell.

Why didn't the directors hire an investment banker?

"It just appeared to me that they just try to rip you off, so it would be better to go it alone," Mr. Woody said.

According to Charles Crowley, the managing director of investment banking with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. Inc. in Cleveland, it is not exactly an assignment that investment bankers would be clamoring for, anyway. …

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