Security State Bank has agreed to buy Security State Bank in a deal that could eliminate some brand confusion in central Iowa.

There are nearly 7,000 banks in the United States, so some overlap should be expected with names. It also stands to reason that, with the potential for consolidation, that some of the banks would cross paths.

Such is the case with Security State Bank in Radcliffe, which has reached a deal to buy Security State Bank in nearby Hubbard. The banks did not disclose the deal's financial terms.

The merger has its fair share of pros and cons, says Bryan Drake, president of the $58 million-asset Radcliffe bank. "It might get confusing," he says.

State examiners in Iowa reviewing the deal could be excused if they get addled. There are four other Security State Banks in Iowa, plus a First Security State Bank in Evansdale.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. regulators could also become disoriented. There are 34 Security State Banks nationwide, plus a Security State Bank & Trust and a First Security State Bank, both in Texas.

The smallest of the bunch is Security State Bank of Oklee in Oklee, Minn., with $34 million of assets. The biggest is the $429 million-asset Security State Bank in Pearsall, Texas.

For the merging Iowa banks, there was a day when it would have been easier to keep things straight. Security State Bank, the acquirer, was formed as Bank of Radcliffe in 1884. Thirty years later, someone changed the name to Security State Bank. The Hubbard version of Security State Bank opened in May 1915 as the Farmers' State Bank of Garden City, Iowa. It adopted its current name in 1935.

At least the holding companies don't share names. The Radcliffe bank is owned by Drake Holding, named for the bank's president. The Hubbard bank is held by D.W. Heineking, named for the bank's chairman, Don Heineking.

Joining forces makes sense on several fronts. Radcliffe is less than seven miles west of Hubbard, separated by a straight shot down Highway 175. Both towns are in Hardin County. The Hubbard bank has 13 employees and Radcliffe's has seven full-time employees. Loans tied to agriculture make up at least a quarter of the loans at each bank. Combined, the new Security State Bank will have about $109 million of assets.

Then there are the financial benefits of having the same name. "It might save us on the conversion costs," Drake says.

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