Magazine article American Banker

New AmericanWest Buyout Aimed at Expanding Southern California Footprint

Magazine article American Banker

New AmericanWest Buyout Aimed at Expanding Southern California Footprint

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Barba

Two weeks after buying a San Diego-area bank, AmericanWest Bank in Spokane, Wash., has another deal in Southern California.

The $2.5 billion-asset bank announced Thursday it has agreed to acquire Inland Community Bank (ICBN) in the greater Los Angeles area, for $23.7 million in cash. The price tag is 95% of the book value of Inland and its holding company, ICB Financial.

Scott Kisting, the chairman and chief executive of AmericanWest, said in an interview that he was attracted to the $221 million-asset Inland based in Ontario, Calif., because of its commercial business and its demand deposits. Its commercial and industrial loans and owner-occupied real estate accounted for half of its loans, and demand deposits made up 32% of its deposits, at the end of the first quarter, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

"All of the banks we've acquired have been religiously attached to demand deposits," Kisting said. Having that level of demand deposits "makes you a much stronger bank; 30% is high for a community bank."

AmericanWest has looked at 50 to 60 banks in the last couple of years, but has only gotten serious about 15 of them, Kisting said.

Inland started weighing its options about two years ago, Chief Executive James S. Cooper said. As he saw it, the bank had two options: find a buyer, or dilute its shareholders by raising capital so that it could fight its way to $700 million in assets, a size that improves community banks' chances of surviving in the new regulatory environment.

"If we did raise the capital, we would then get to compete with the Scott Kistings of the world," Cooper said.

A regulatory matter hamstrung Inland's pursuit of a partner. The FDIC tried to assess a cross-guarantee claim on the bank for the 2009 failure of Progress Bank of Florida in Tampa. The banks shared private-equity investors and directors, but were not owned by the same holding company. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.