State National of Lubbock Agrees To $45.5M Deal for a Texas Bank

A Lubbock, Tex., bank said it plans to buy an in-state bank for $45.5 million in cash.State National Bancshares Inc., a privately held, $860 million-asset company, said it agreed to pay $20 per share for $358 million-asset Independent Bankshares Inc. of Abilene. State National also said it would assume Independent's $13 million of obligations in outstanding preferred stock.

Independent's stock soared on news of the sale. Its stock closed at $18.50 a share Thursday, up 12% on the day. The price was unchanged Friday morning.

Independent would become a wholly owned subsidiary of State National and would keep its name.

State National is connected to banking investor John M. Eggemeyer 3d, who is known for consolidating community banks and reselling them for top dollar. Mr. Eggemeyer owns a 25% stake in State National through his Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.-based investment fund, Castle Creek Capital. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

- Craig Woker

Senate Agriculture Panel Approves Crop-Insurance Reform Measure

The Senate Agricultural Committee has supported a crop-insurance reform bill that bank and farm groups say would reduce farmers' premiums and encourage them to buy higher levels of coverage.The committee on Thursday voted 10-8 in favor of the $6 billion measure, which is co-sponsored by Kansas Republican Pat Roberts and Nebraska Democrat Robert Kerrey.

"This is a major step toward strengthening the farm safety net during a difficult time for many farm families, who have suffered from both low prices [and] devastating natural disasters over the past few years," said Robert Barsness, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America. Mr. Barsness also is president and chairman of Prior Lake State Bank in Minnesota.

The National Farmers Unions said the legislation would make it easier for farmers to continue insurance coverage after multiple disaster years and would give them greater choice in how they manage risk. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill last fall.

- Craig Woker

American River of Sacramento To Buy Small Calif. Bank for $9M

American River Holdings in Sacramento, Calif., said it will buy North Coast Bank, Windsor, Calif., for $9 million of stock.Under the pooling-of-interests agreement, American River would pay 2.3 times North Coast's book value and 40.18 times its trailing fourth-quarter earnings. North Coast shareholders would get 0.9644 share of American River stock for each share they own.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter. The combined company would have $250 million of assets.

- Matt Andrejczak

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