Heartland Financial USA (HTLF) is filling in its footprint in the desert.

The $4.4 billion-asset bank holding company based in Dubuque, Iowa said Thursday it would buy Heritage Bank in Phoenix for $16 million in cash.

The purchase would add the $107 million-asset Heritage's two branches to seven locations that Arizona Bank & Trust, a subsidiary of Heartland, owns in Phoenix and its suburbs.

The deal is expected to close by Dec. 14. Heartland said it would combine the two banks under the Arizona Bank & Trust name by the end of March.

"We are excited about the prospect of expanding further in the East Valley area of Phoenix," Lynn B. Fuller, Heartland's chief executive, said in a news release. "The two branch offices of Heritage Bank are an excellent fit for our Arizona Bank & Trust locations in Tempe and on Camelback Road in Phoenix."

"These locations match our desire to 'fill in' attractive areas in or close to our existing service areas," Fuller added.

Heartland has 64 branches in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Colorado and Minnesota.

The company's deal for Heritage extends a string of recent deals by Heartland for banks in cities where the company does business already. In August, Heartland purchased First National Bank in Platteville, Wisc., for roughly $11 million in cash and stock. Heartland bought three branches in May from Liberty Bank in West Des Moines, Iowa, for an undisclosed price.

Heartland is expected to report its earnings for the third quarter on Oct. 29.

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