Bank Customers To See Another Name Change

Arkansans can expect to see yet another name change at one of the state’s largest banking operations.

Last week, Milwaukee-based Firstar Corp. agreed to buy U.S. Bancorp of Minneapolis for $21.1 billion in stock. Even though Firstar is doing the buying, the combined bank will operate under the U.S. Bancorp name.

Steve Dale, a Firstar spokesman in Milwaukee, said new signs won’t go up for another year, or maybe even longer, as the company takes a slower integration process with this merger.

“It’s a big job, and we want to get it right the first time,” Dale said. “So it’s going to be a deliberate process.”

This won’t be the first name change for most of Firstar’s Arkansas customers. The company moved into this market in September 1999 through its acquisition of Mercantile Bancorporation Inc. of St. Louis. Mercantile entered Arkansas through its 1995 purchase of North Little Rock-based TCBankshares.

Firstar will exchange 1.265 shares of its common stock for each share of U.S. Bancorp stock. Based on Firstar’s closing stock price of $22.38 on Sept. 29, that amounts to $28.30 for each U.S. Bancorp share, a 24.4 percent premium over its closing price for that date.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, isn’t expected to close until the first quarter of next year. The new bank will be the eighth-largest bank holding company in the United States, with more than $160 billion in assets.

Firstar has 44 locations in Arkansas and holds the No. 4 market share position in the state with $1.61 billion in deposits, according to the latest figures available from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. There are no U.S. Bancorp operations in the state.

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