Magazine article American Banker

Car Dealer Selling His Majority Stake in Calif. Bank to Minnesota Company

Magazine article American Banker

Car Dealer Selling His Majority Stake in Calif. Bank to Minnesota Company

Article excerpt

A Southern California car dealer has agreed to sell his majority interest in a local community bank to a Minnesota holding company.

Duke Financial Group Inc., St. Paul, will pay between $4.9 million and $5.5 million to R.E. "Rick" Fritts for his 65% stake in Riverside-based Inland Empire National Bank.

The deal, announced last week, will be the first in which a company outside of Southern California has purchased a majority ownership in a Riverside County institution.

The bank's remaining 245 shareholders will be offered the opportunity to sell their shares in September, said Inland Empire president Candace Hunter Wiest. She said she expects about half of the shareholders to sell their stock.

"Many of our shareholders are approaching retirement age, so this will give them a chance to divest if they want," she said.

Inland Empire, with $61 million in assets, is a 12-year-old institution east of Los Angeles. …

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