First Savings Bank of Washington Bancorp in Walla Walla, Wash., said last week that it would buy Towne Bancorp, Woodinville, Wash. First Savings, with assets of $1.1 billion, has offered about $28 million in stock for Towne Bancorp-roughly 3.3 times book value. Towne shareholders have been given the option to receive either 3.85 shares of First Savings stock or $91.62 for each share of Towne stock owned.
Gary Sirmon, First Savings' president and chief executive officer, said that though the bank company has loan offices in greater Seattle-about four hours west of Walla Walla-it has no retail branches there. By acquiring $132 million-asset Towne, First Savings could offer deposit and checking services to its homeowner and builder customers in that region. "For us to grow in the state of Washington, we really felt we needed a stronger presence in the Seattle area," Mr. Sirmon said.