Heartland discloses delayed closing for AimBank acquisition

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Heartland Financial USA in Dubuque, Iowa, disclosed that it will take longer than planned to complete its pending purchase of AIM Bancshares in Levelland, Texas.

The $15 billion-asset Heartland said in a regulatory filing Friday that the $280 million deal will likely close late this year or in the first quarter of 2021. When Heartland agreed in February to buy the $1.9 billion-asset parent of AimBank it said the transaction would close in July or August.

Heartland said the delay reflects complications tied to the coronavirus pandemic and “pending litigation against AimBank" tied to the bankruptcy of a former AimBank customer. “The parties continue to proceed with their efforts to complete the acquisition as promptly as practicable,” the filing said.

The trustee for a failed Lubbock, Texas, auto dealer filed a lawsuit on July 31 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas seeking to recover $9.4 million from AimBank. The trustee claimed that AimBank managers ignored evidence of check kiting and other fraudulent activities tied to the dealership’s former chief financial officer, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in June 2019.

AimBank, in its reponse to the lawsuit, denied that bank officials had any knowledge of fraudulent activity.

AIM would be Heartland's 17th bank acquisition since 2012. Heartland said it plans to merge AimBank with the FirstBank & Trust unit in Lubbock to create a bank with 34 branches and $3 billion of assets.

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