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Transaction facilitates BancorpSouth’s move into Missouri

TUPELO — The $11.9-billion asset BancorpSouth Inc. closed out October by adding another state in its geographic banking map.

On October 31, officials with BancorpSouth and City Bancorp, parent company of The Signature Bank headquartered in Springfield, Mo., announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement. Under the terms of the transaction, which is valued at approximately $170 million, City Bancorp shareholders would receive 50% cash and 50% BancorpSouth common stock. The deal remains subject to the approval of City Bancorp’s shareholders and the approval of federal and state banking regulators.

Officials state the $847-million-asset company brings a presence in attractive economic markets — namely, the Springfield and St. Louis metropolitan statistical areas — that fit well into BancorpSouth’s existing geographic franchise and philosophy of doing business. In addition to six full-service banking locations in Springfield, the company also operates a loan production office in Clayton, Mo., in the St. Louis area.

Springfield, noted as the third-largest MSA in the state, brings a population of about 400,000. From 2000 to 2005, Springfield’s population grew more than 8%, nearly double the population growth rate in Missouri.

The St. Louis MSA is the largest in the state and includes 17 counties in Missouri and Illinois with a population of 2.81 million.

BancorpSouth chairman and CEO Aubrey Patterson stated that the alliance fits the company’s growth strategy, which doesn’t “leapfrog into new markets,” but “expands into markets with strong economic performance and promise that BancorpSouth “understands.”

Patterson and BancorpSouth president James V. Kelley added that The Signature Bank’s style of community banking and empowerment was consistent with the approach BancorpSouth takes throughout its franchise and that both companies shared a focus on quality, profitable growth and expense control.

The Signature Bank chairman and CEO David Kunze and Robert Fulp, The Signature Bank’s president, added that BancorpSouth’s technological capabilities and broad retail and commercial product lines would complement its current “one-on-one business development and service approach.” The

Signature Bank officials also stated that they appreciated BancorpSouth’s history of commitment to economic development efforts in their local communities.

The Signature Bank’s lending products include commercial real estate, commercial and industrial real estate construction loans, residential and real estate loans and a variety of consumer loans. Officials said the bank’s emphasis has focused on small-to-middle market commercial customers in Springfield, St. Louis and surrounding areas.

In addition to deposit products, the bank also offers brokerage services through its brokerage and investment services division. The company, which has 149 employees, has an ROA of 1.28% and ROE of 16.37%.

Other states in BancorpSouth’s geographic footprint include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Karen Kahler Holliday at mbj@msbusiness.com.


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