The Bank of Fayetteville Draws Talk of Ownership Change

Bank Move?

Have you heard The Bank of Fayetteville might get a new owner?

So have a lot of folks.

But there’s “no offer on the table,” according to Mary Beth Brooks, CEO of the bank.

She points out that speculation on BOF’s ownership frequently is the topic of conversation in northwest Arkansas, as it was around August of 2005.

At that time, it was estimated the bank could’ve been sold for 2.5 times book value. No word on the current value, though its over-the-counter stock closed at $15.50 per share on Jan. 21. It had a 52-week high of $36.

One of the most frequently mentioned suitors for BOF is from Searcy.

“Sometimes when there’s smoke, there’s fire, but other times there’s not,” Reynie Rutledge, CEO of First Security Bancorp, said helpfully. Or not.

First Security had a successful acquisition a couple of years ago and has pretty well digested it, he said. The bank will continue to look at good acquisition opportunities.

First Security, you may remember, acquired First National Bank of Springdale in 2003 in a deal that was estimated at about $45 million.

As of Sept. 30, FSB had $2.98 billion in assets, up from $1.89 billion a year before. Deposits were $2.3 billion, up from $1.5 billion for the same period.

The bank has 69 offices in the state, including 11 in Washington County, where all of BOF’s are. However, there’s very little overlap with BOF’s nine branches.

Bank of Fayetteville had assets of $490.88 million on Sept. 30, down from $490.91 million a year earlier. Deposits shrank nearly 6 percent to $351.6 million.

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