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Chess, or Monopoly?Recent mergers and acquisitions include big banks

June 27, 2005

By COCO SALAZAR

Transactions with two banking behemoths top this week’s coverage of mergers and acquisitions.

But first, in Tallahassee, Fla., Capital City Bank Group Inc. recently announced it completed acquisition of First Alachua Banking Corp.

The merger will reportedly strengthen Capital City’s footprint in central Florida and help it accomplish its long-term expansion strategy of acquiring suburban Florida, Georgia and Alabama banks between $100 million to $400 million in assets.

First Alachua has a mortgage lending office and a retail brokerage division, while Capital City has six mortgage lending offices, according to the announcement.

German American Bancorp and PCB Holding Co. will be merging in either the third or fourth quarter, the two companies announced.

PCB said the merger will allow Peoples Community Bank customers to have access to “the latest in financial products and services.”

Indiana-based German American, which reportedly has mortgage banking and full-service brokerage among its lines of business, said the transaction will allow it to capitalize upon the opportunities for growth within Southwestern Indiana market area.

Information management systems and services provider FiServ Inc. announced it completed acquiring the assets of the U.S. eLending business from Emergis Inc.

McLean, Va.-based eLending provides lenders with tools that facilitate obtaining third-party services needed to process, close and fund mortgage loans via the Internet and provides the capability to manage, electronically sign, and store mortgage documents in a secure electronic environment, FiServ reported.

Risk mitigation and business solutions provider First Advantage Corp. will acquire the Credit Information Group, a company of data provider First American Corp., in an all-stock deal expected to close next quarter, according to a press release.

“Between our two companies, nearly all forms of business information are available,” said Parker S. Kennedy, chairman of both companies, in an announcement. “First American will concentrate on real estate information and First Advantage will cover the other forms of business information. This is a great move for both companies as credit information is a natural fit with the other background screening services offered by First Advantage.”

Under the terms of the agreement, First American and its First American Real Estate Solutions joint venture will contribute their mortgage, consumer and subprime credit businesses to First Advantage.

Once the merger is complete, First Advantage’s acquisition of Credit Information will increase First American’s ownership interest in First Advantage from 67% to about 80%, the announcement said.

Franklin Bank said Tuesday it had signed an agreement with Washington Mutual Bank to acquire five banking offices located in Texas, which will expand its network in East and Central Texas. The transaction is expected for completion in the fourth quarter.

“These banking offices are an ideal fit for The Franklin Family of Community Bank’s ‘trusted financial advisor’ approach,” stated Anthony Nocella, CEO of Franklin Bank’s parent company.

Another company executive commented that Franklin Bank had “taken a major step forward towards our goal of obtaining one-third of our funding from community banking deposits by 2006.” The transaction encompasses approximately $284 million of community banking deposits and $31 million of consumer and home equity loans.

The Federal Reserve Board announced Thursday its approval for Wells Fargo & Co., San Francisco, Calif., to acquire Houston-based First Community Capital Corp.

The Fed said a commenter opposing Wells Fargo’s acquisition proposal asserted that the lender engaged in discriminatory treatment of African-American and Hispanic individuals in its home mortgage operations. Examiners, however, found that the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data did not support such a contention.

The merger must be consummated no later than September, the Fed said.


Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.email: CocoSalazar@MortgageDaily.com

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