published on September 2, 2016 - 8:25 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Visalia-based Suncrest Bank will acquire Fresno’s Security First Bank in a cash and stock deal valued at $18.1 million.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, which was announced Friday morning, shareholders of Security First stock can elect to receive 1.2 shares of Suncrest common stock or $10 cash for each share of Security First, subject to an overall 50 percent stock and 50 percent cash split.

Suncrest Bank operates branches in Visalia, Porterville, Yuba City and Kingsburg, while Security First Bank has a single branch in Fresno.

The combined bank will continue to operate all five branches under the Suncrest name, offering increased lending capacity, an expanded product set, and the same outstanding level of customer service, according to Suncrest Bank President and CEO Ciaran McMullan. Security First Bank President and CEO Steve Jones will join the newly combined organization as its chief operating officer.

“I and the entire leadership group at Suncrest are excited by the opportunity to work with the Security First Bank team, and to help them build on the successes they have already achieved.” McMullan said in a statement. “We are particularly pleased to be adding Steve Jones to our team, as he brings a unique combination of real, hands-on community banking leadership experience together with substantial big bank experience in [mergers and acquisitions] and systems conversion and integration.”

The merger, subject to approval of Security First shareholders and regulators, will result in a combined banking entity with about $425 million in assets.

Suncrest Bank also announced today that, subject to customary closing conditions, Castle Creek Capital Partners VI, L.P. will be making an investment of $5.6 million to acquire 678,788 shares of common stock of the bank at $8.25 per share, with the proceeds being used both to support the merger and future growth.

Upon completion of the transaction, one director from the Security First Bank Board will join the board of the newly combined bank with the majority of the remaining Security First Bank directors forming a new local market advisory board.

Share prices for both banks were up in morning trading — 4.6 percent to $7.62 for Suncrest (SBKK) and 6.6 percent to $8.05 for Security First (SFRK). Trading volume was heavy for both.

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