Regulators OK sale of Austin’s First State bank to Mississippi company

Almost four years after plans for the deal were announced, regulatory officials have approved the sale of Austin-based First State Bank Central Texas to Tupelo, Mississippi-based BancorpSouth Bank.

BancorpSouth Bank executives said Wednesday that they have received approvals from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance to complete the acquisition of First State Bank Central Texas’s holding company, Temple-based Central Community Corporation.

Plans for the merger were first announced in January 2014, with BancorpSouth saying at that time that it would acquire Central Community Corporation for about $211 million in cash and stock. Those financial terms remain in place, Donald Grobowsky, chairman, president and CEO of Central Community Corporation, said Wednesday.

The deal is expected to close on Jan. 15, the companies said.

Once the merger is complete, Grobowsky will join BancorpSouth’s board of directors and will serve as chairman of the company’s Central Texas region, he said Wednesday.

“We’re just really excited. BancorpSouth brings a lot of products and services that will be new to our customers, that we’ve never been able to take forward to our customer base before,” Grobowsky said. “We’re excited about that stepping up a notch.”

Chartered in 1909, First State Bank Central Texas has 10 branches in the Austin metro area, and a total of 31 branches in 13 counties in Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country. No branch closures are planned as part of the merger, Grobowsky said. First State Bank currently has 206 full-time employees, Grobowsky said. He said most of those would become BancorpSouth employees, although there is expected to be “some consolidation” of staffing, he said.

Grobowsky said the companies are aiming for a June conversion, at which time First State Bank branches would be rebranded as BancorpSouth branches. Until then, First State Bank customers should continue with business as usual with their accounts and loans with the bank, Grobowsky said.

First State Bank has about $1.4 billion in assets, making it the largest locally-based bank in the Austin area. After the merger, Pioneer Bank would become the largest locally-based bank in Austin, with about $1.25 billion in total assets, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

BancorpSouth Bank has about $14.8 billion in assets and operates more than 230 branch locations in eight states, according to the company. BancorpSouth currently has 28 branches operating in Texas and has one office in Austin, according to filings with the FDIC. The company also provides mortgage, insurance and loan production services.

BancorpSouth said Wednesday it has also received approval for the acquisition of Louisiana-based Ouachita Independent Bank. Upon completion of the two mergers, BancorpSouth will become the 29th largest bank in Texas by deposit market share, up from 66th.

“Our team is diligently executing our overall strategic plan and these acquisitions are significant to our company and an integral part of our future,” Dan Rollins, BancorpSouth chairman and CEO, said in a written statement.

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