“Pedestal Bank has for many years been a well-managed, high performing competitor of ours, and teaming up with them grows our market share, broadens our shareholder base, and strengthens our already deep talent pool. It’s the next step in our quest to be our region’s bank of choice,” said Jude Melville, president and chief executive officer of b1Bank.
The two banks are similar in that they focus on businesses.
Pedestal was founded in 1999 as Coastal Commerce Bank. It merged with Louisiana Community Bancorp and rebranded itself as Pedestal in 2018. It has 22 branches across Louisiana, centered around Houma-Thibodaux, Lafayette, Lake Charles and Leesville. At the end of 2019, the bank had $1.2 billion in total assets, $900 million in total loans and $1 billion in total deposits. The bank had 306 employees as of Sept. 30.
In contrast b1Bank, which was founded in 2006, has 26 branches across Louisiana and Texas. Locally, it has four branches in Baton Rouge and one each in New Orleans, Lafayette, Brusly, Covington, Denham Springs, Gonzales and Port Allen.
At the end of 2019 the bank had $2.3 billion in total assets, $1.7 billion in total loans and $1.8 billion in total assets. The bank had been known as Business First Bank, but it rebranded itself last month.
Under the deal, which is set to close as soon as the second quarter, Pedestal shareholders will receive about $21.8 million in cash and 7.6 million shares of b1Bank common stock. Shares of b1Bank closed at $24.42 Wednesday. The acquisition has been unanimously approved by the board of directors for both b1Bank and Pedestal. The merger still needs to be approved by shareholders and regulators.
After the deal closes, b1Bank will increase the size of its board to 14 members, four of which will be current Pedestal directors. Mark Folse, the president and chief executive officer of Pedestal, will move to Baton Rouge and join the executive team.
“Over the years we have built relationships with the leadership team at Business First, and I am confident that our like-minded approach to customer service, employee relations, and the creation of shareholder value will present positive opportunities for all involved,” Folse said.
Business First Bancshares, the holding company of b1Bank, also announced its annual earnings Wednesday.
The bank saw its profits increase during the year to $23.8 million, or $1.74 per diluted share, from $14.1 million, or $1.22 per share for 2018. b1Bank opened its second Texas branch during the quarter, in metro Dallas-Fort Worth.
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