FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arvest Bank announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Bear State Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:BSF), the parent company of Bear State Bank. The acquisition, expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017 or first quarter of 2018 pending customary regulatory approvals and subject to approval by Bear State shareholders, is an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $391 million.
Bear State Bank operates 42 branches and three personalized technology centers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, while Arvest operates more than 250 branches in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. As of June 30, 2017, Bear State had total assets of $2.24 billion and total deposits of $1.7 billion in 34 communities. As of June 30, 2017, Arvest had total assets of $17.30 billion and total deposits of $14.98 billion in 120 communities.
“This is a strategic move for us and one made after much careful consideration,” Arvest president and CEO Kevin Sabin said. “In addition to giving us the opportunity to expand into some new communities, this deal also allows us to strengthen our presence in some existing markets.”
“Because Bear State is such a solid company with dedicated employees – and because both banks are so committed to their communities – we believe this will be a great fit. From outstanding products and services to superior customer service, Arvest shares a lot of similarities to Bear State and we look forward to serving all of our customers – old and new – with the same courtesy, competency and care as we always have.”
Of the 34 communities where Bear State operates, 18 are markets where Arvest has banking operations while 16 markets will be new communities for Arvest – most notably communities in northeast Arkansas, southwest Arkansas, southern Missouri and southeast Oklahoma. Arvest Bank and Bear State customers will not notice any immediate changes, and both banks will continue to conduct business as usual. A full conversion of systems and accounts will occur in 2018, and Arvest Bank will be communicating with Bear State customers over the next several months regarding their transition to Arvest Bank.
Additionally, all those employed by Bear State on the date of contract closing will become employees of Arvest Bank.
New communities Arvest looks forward to serving in Arkansas are: Ashdown, De Queen, Dierks, Glenwood, Jonesboro, Manila, Monette, Mount Ida, Nashville and Waldron. Arvest will enter the communities of Golden City, Kimberling City, Lamar and Marshfield in Missouri, and Broken Bow and Idabel in Oklahoma.