Colorado Springs Banking Industry Swept by Wave of Mergers, Sales in Past Year

By Heilman, Wayne | The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), February 22, 2018 | Go to article overview

Colorado Springs Banking Industry Swept by Wave of Mergers, Sales in Past Year


Heilman, Wayne, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO)


Colorado Springs' banks saw significant changes last year with three institutions involved in mergers or sales and the local industry enjoying the best financial health since 2006.

Antoun Sehnaoui, chairman of Société Générale de Banque au Liban, acquired Pikes Peak National Bank Jan. 16, National Bank Holdings Corp. completed its $147.3 million acquisition of Peoples Inc., parent company of Peoples National Bank of Colorado Springs, on Jan. 1 and Stockmens Bank of Colorado Springs merged with First Bancshares Inc. of Mountain Grove, Mo., on July 31. All three deals retained management and aren't expected to bring noticeable changes for customers.

In two of the transactions, the deals were triggered when longtime family owners decided to sell after ownership shifted to a new generation of the family. The third deal was driven by rising information technology and regulatory costs, which can hamstring small banks' profitability, local bankers said.

Lebanese banker buys Pikes Peak National Bank as vehicle for U.S., international expansion

"In the late 1980s, we had 20,000 banks nationwide and now we have 6,800, so consolidation is continuing. In some cases, families that own banks don't have a succession plan and made the choice to sell. In our case, we had family members who were ready to do something different," said Brendan Zahl, former CEO of Peoples, who continues to supervise the banks and mortgage unit of the former Peoples National for National Bank Holdings. "You also have smaller banks struggling with maintaining profitability with the rising cost of the regulatory burden. It's just harder for small banks."

The deal made National Bank Holdings a major player in the Colorado Springs market with six offices holding $393 million in assets and $310.5 million in deposits. The bank offices and mortgage division in Colorado operate under the Community Banks of Colorado name.

Peoples was started by the late Wint Winter Sr., a former Kansas lawyer and legislator, in 1971 when he acquired a small bank in Ottawa, Kan. He added the failed Bank of Woodmoor in 1976 and Colorado Springs Savings in 1997 to build Peoples into one of the 10 largest banks in the Colorado Springs area. The Winter family considered six to 10 potential buyers before agreeing to sell to National Bank Holdings, which was started during the last recession with $1 billion raised from private equity and evolved into a $5.7 billion financial services company spanning four states.

Rob Alexander is using the same strategy to grow his Stockmens Bank in Colorado Springs from a $100 million institution with offices in Colorado and Nebraska into what he hopes will be a $500 million bank that now also includes branches in southwest Missouri and may eventually include operations in adjacent states. He merged Stockmens with First Bancshares Inc., which also owns First Home Bank in Missouri, in a transaction that gave him controlling interest in the holding company and tripled the size of Stockmens to more than $350 million in assets and $310. …

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