Bank OZK exits another state by selling branches

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Bank OZK in Little Rock, Ark., is planning to exit another state.

The $24.6 billion-asset bank said in a press release Wednesday that it will sell its two branches in South Carolina to Sharonview Federal Credit Union in Indian Land, S.C. The sale of the branches in Hilton Head and Bluffton includes $107 million in deposits and $3 million in loans.

Bank OZK did not disclose the price of the sale, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

The bank said it had been difficult to operate efficiently in South Carolina with just two branches.

Bank OZK provided a similar rationale two weeks earlier when it announced plans to divest its two branches in Alabama. Merchants & Marine Bancorp in Pascagoula, Miss., and FEB Bancshares in Louisville, Ala., will each buy a branch in deals that are also expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Sharonview will have 92,000 members and 18 branches in North Carolina and South Carolina after the deal closes.

“We are thrilled to expand our footprint and serve more members in South Carolina,” Sharonview President and CEO Bill Partin said in a press release.

Brian Martin, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott, wrote in a Thursday note to clients that the South Carolina branch sales should result in a “small gain” for Bank OZK.

DD&F Consulting Group advised Bank OZK. Mercer Capital and Howard & Howard advised Sharonview.

Bank OZK's deal with Sharonview is at least the third this year in which a bank agreed to sell branches to a credit union.

Blue Federal Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyo., in February acquired two branches in Colorado from Liberty Savings Bank in Wilmington, Ohio. In May, TCF Financial in Detroit sold seven Arizona branches to USA Alaska Credit Union in Anchorage.

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