B&K Bank acquisition vote planned for next week

Published 12:03 am Saturday, January 4, 2014

NATCHEZ — Britton & Koontz bank officials are confident an acquisition by a Louisiana bank will be approved next week during a shareholder’s meeting in Natchez.

The long-time Natchez bank announced in November it would be acquired by Home Bancorp, the holding company for Home Bank of Lafayette, for $34.5 million.

The deal is subject to the approval of the banks’ shareholders and regulators, which will meet Thursday at B&K Bank on Main Street in Natchez.

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If approved, B&K shareholders will receive $16.14 cash for each share of stock.

B&K President and Chief Executive Officer Page Ogden said shareholders will vote upon the proposal to approve and adopt the agreement and plan of the merger released in early November.

“Shareholders have received proxies, along with a detailed proxy statement describing the proposed transaction,” Ogden said. “The majority of shareholders will be voting in advance of the meeting.

“The board of B&K believes that both the shareholders and the regulators will approve the merger.”

Home Bancorp has 23 locations in the Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas. B&K has three locations in Natchez, three in Baton Rouge and two locations in Vicksburg.

Home Bancorp Chief Financial Officer Joseph Zanco said the merger application has been filed with the regulators, and he hopes the transaction will be approved in the coming weeks.

Zanco said B&K customers can expect the same quality service if the acquisition is approved.

“In fact, with our combined resources, we expect our customers to be very pleased with the enhanced products and services, which will now be available to them,” Zanco said. “We plan to re-brand B&K branches as Home Bank locations upon IT systems conversion in March.”

Zanco said upon closing of the merger, B&K’s Deanna Bowser will become Home Bank’s Market President in Natchez and that the two companies are working together to plan the integration of the companies.

“We’ll be investing a lot of our time and energy over the next few months ensuring the team is fully trained on Home Bank’s operating platform,” Zanco said.

“One of the key benefits we’ve enjoyed in previous mergers is the best practices, which result from comparing our processes and procedures.

“With such talented bankers working together, we’re already beginning to see some of the fruits of combining our knowledge bases.”

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said the economic impact of the potential merger won’t be felt in the area for some time.

“B&K has always been a strong significant part of the fabric of Natchez, and we hope that this merger doesn’t really diminish their presence in the market,” Russ said. “We know there will be some changes because that’s apparent with any merger or acquisition, but we’re going to wait and see what those are going to be and go from there.”

B&K got its start in 1838 when brothers William A. Britton and Audley C. Britton, and businessman George M. Koontz, founded a private banking firm; the owners consolidated their interests and organized Britton & Koontz Bank in 1866.

The deal will be Home Bancorp’s first expansion outside of Louisiana.