Simmons First announces $66 million agreement to acquire Delta Trust & Banking Corp.

Simmons First National Corp. announced Monday it has entered into an agreement with Delta Trust & Banking Corp. of Little Rock to purchase the financial services provider and its wholly owned subsidiary Delta Trust & Bank for $66 million.

Simmons First Chairman and CEO George A. Makris Jr. said in a conference call to analysts Monday afternoon that the purchase is part of the company’s strategy to expand its reach.

“Our desire is to expand our presence in the leading growth markets of central and northwest Arkansas,” Makris said. “This and our recent acquisition of Metropolitan National Bank helps us to realize that goal, as it fits nicely into our regional footprint.”

Delta Trust has assets of $431 million, loans totalling $319 million, deposits of $377 million and total equity of $40.6 million, with total trust assets of $813 million, according to a press release.

Delta Trust has nine financial centers in the state, with three in Little Rock, two in northwest Arkansas, four in south Arkansas and one under construction in Conway, according to a press release.

“We believe the acquisition will enhance our ability to offer a full range of financial services to our customers, including wealth management, consumer and commercial financing needs and asset protection,” Makris said. “We think it’s a great fit and a complement to our traditional banking operation.”

Makris said that some branch consolidation will occur, but that it is too early in the process to know which branches will be slated for closure.

“This consolidation will create ‘super branches’ that will enhance customer service,” Makris said. “We will have to look at whether their branches or ours will close, depending on which are the best locations.”

Completion of the transaction is expected in the third quarter of 2014, while the fourth quarter is the anticipated time for the merger of Delta Trust and Bank into Simmons First National Bank.

Makris said in the conference call Monday that Simmons continues to look for additional acquisitions both in state and out of state.

“We think there are more opportunities in Arkansas that will fit into our strategy,” Makris said. “We would also like to work on filling in the footprint in our out of state markets in Kansas and Missouri. We are going to continue to move forward.”