Britton & Koontz finalizes acquisition

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 2, 2000

Britton & Koontz First National Bank wants to expand — rather than be part of someone else’s expansion plans. &uot;Our bank instead of being acquired wants to be the acquirer,&uot; said Page Ogden, president of B&K, which announced its final merger agreement with Louisiana Bank & Trust Friday.

This week, shareholders from both Britton & Koontz and Louisiana Bancshares approved the merger, which took effect Friday.

Louisiana Bank & Trust, a subsidiary of Louisiana Bancshares, will now become Britton & Koontz. The merger represents B&K’s first interstate acquisition.

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Ogden said he thinks it is important for the bank to maintain its home base in Natchez.

&uot;This is an excellent move for us, and I think for Natchez, too,&uot; Ogden said. &uot;Britton & Koontz is expanding, and it’s expanding with its headquarters in Natchez.&uot;

Continuing its role as a community bank, Ogden said, allows the bank to maintain its personal service. &uot;I think community banks are able to deliver not only the technology but also the personal service,&uot; Ogden said. &uot;That’s what we’re bringing to the Baton Rouge economy.&uot;

The merger also continues B&K’s efforts to expand. The bank already has a year-old branch in Vicksburg. &uot;That corridor, from Natchez to Baton Rouge and north from Natchez to Vicksburg, is very important to us,&uot; Ogden said. &uot;The roads are improving; we’re getting four-lane highways. It’s a very natural thing.&uot;

Another natural is the information highway connecting the Natchez headquarters to its out-of-town branches. B&K, which markets the online banking program Sumx and operates as an Internet service provider in Natchez, also communicates with branch leaders via teleconferencing.

&uot;I can talk on the phone with (the Vicksburg branch president) and see him on the computer at the same time,&uot; Ogden said.

The bank’s technological capabilities made it attractive to Louisiana Bank & Trust, Ogden said.

&uot;There are a lot of common synergies, a lot of strengths on either side,&uot; he said.

With the merger, two of Louisiana Bancshares’ board members will join the B&K board: Baton Rouge native Drew Patty, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property law, and Dr. Vin Thukrat, a professor of business management at Tulane University School of Medicine who Ogden said is particularly interested in technology.

Baton Rouge native Russell Gautier, an experienced banker, will serve as city president of the two B&K branches in Baton Rouge.

As of Sept. 30, B&K had assets of $239.7 million and equity of $21.3 million, while Louisiana Bancshares $42 million in assets, $36 million in deposits and $4 million in equity.

B&K is traded publicly on the NASDAQ Small Cap Market under the symbol BKBK.