published on September 27, 2016 - 2:43 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Citizens Business Bank and Visalia-based Valley Business Bank have plans to merge, creating an institution with nearly $8.8 billion in assets.

Based in the Southern California town of Ontario, CVB Financial Corp. — parent company of Citizens Business Bank — has struck a merger agreement to purchase Valley Commerce Bancorp for about $57.5 million in a deal consisting of $23.4 million in cash and more than 1.9 million shares of stock.

The deal was announced late last week.

Valley Business Bank’s four locations in Visalia, Tulare, Fresno and Woodlake will operate as Citizens Business Bank on completion of the merger.

Founded in 1996, Valley Business Bank had assets of $416 million as of June 30.

Citizens Business Bank recently announced second-quarter assets of $8.31 billion, and has 42 business financial centers, eight commercial banking centers and three trust office locations from San Diego to Madera. It currently has a branches in Madera, Fresno, Visalia and Tulare, as well as four Kern County locations.

Parent CVB Financial Corp. is the ninth largest bank holding company based in California, and was named Best Bank in America” by Forbes magazine earlier this year.

“Citizens Business Bank is the perfect fit for Valley Business Bank, and most importantly, our customers and employees. We are excited to be partnering with them,” said Allan Stone, president and CEO Valley Business Bank. “Citizens Business Bank will expand upon our reach, our capabilities and our product offerings while continuing our commitment to providing excellent service to our business and consumer customers. Our shareholders will benefit from the opportunity to own CVBF’s NASDAQ-listed stock with 108 quarters of consecutive cash dividend payments. Based on our similar cultures, we are looking forward to a smooth transition.”

As part of the agreement, Valley Business Bank shareholders could receive about $12.8 million in a special dividend if the bank exceeds a minimum equity target prior to close.

Valley Business Bank recently reported net income of $2.2 million for the first six months of the year, up more than 18 percent from the same period of 2015.

Christopher D. Myers, president and CEO of Citizens Business Bank, said, “Valley Business Bank is a strong community bank and an excellent strategic and geographic fit for Citizens. We look forward to welcoming their customers, associates, and shareholders.”

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