Heartland to double size of western Texas operations with AimBank acquisition

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Heartland Financial USA in Dubuque, Iowa, has agreed to buy AIM Bancshares in Levelland, Texas.

The $13.2 billion-asset Heartland said in a press release Tuesday that it will pay $280.4 million in cash and stock for the $1.8 billion-asset parent of AimBank. The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter, priced AIM as 210% of its tangible book value.

It is the 17th bank acquisition Heartland has announced since 2012.

AimBank has 25 branches, $1.2 billion in loans and $1.5 billion in deposits in western Texas and New Mexico. Heartland entered western Texas in 2018 when it bought FirstBank & Trust.

Heartland has been very acquisitive under the leadership of Lynn Fuller, who is now its chairman.

“We are highly impressed with the people and performance of AimBank and the solid community banking franchise they have built,” Lynn Fuller, Heartland’s executive operating chairman, said in the release. “We strongly believe in the growth prospects of the Texas market, and I am confident that AimBank will be an outstanding addition to the Heartland organization.”

Scott Wade, AimBank’s chairman and CEO, will become vice chairman of FirstBank & Trust and president of the bank’s south division.

Heartland said it expects the acquisition to be 10% accretive to its earnings per share in the first year of combined operations. It should take less than four years for Heartland to earn back any dilution to its tangible book value.

Heartland plans to cut about 30% of AIM Bancshares' annual noninterest expenses. Heartland and AIM Bancshares expect to incur $12.9 million in merger-related expenses.

Panoramic Capital Advisors and Dorsey & Whitney advised Heartland, while Stephens issued a fairness opinion. Hillworth Bank Partners and Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford advised AIM Bancshares.

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