Sunflower Financial in Salina, Kan., is poised to strengthen its presence in Denver.

The $1.7 billion-asset Sunflower announced Tuesday it has agreed to buy the $650 million-asset First Western Financial for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter, and the headquarters of the combined institution would be in First Western's home of Denver.

Scott Wylie, chairman and chief executive of First Western, is set to hold those same titles at the combined organization and its subsidiaries. Mollie Hale Carter, chairman and CEO of Sunflower, would serve as executive chairman of the holding company.

The 10-year-old First Western focuses on private banking and wealth management. The combined company is expected to have $5.5 billion in assets under management, and it is expecting 40% of its revenues to come from fees. That would be high for community banks, where fees tend to make up 20% to 25% of revenue.

"The strength and history of a 122-year-old bank will significantly add to the breadth and depth of support that we can provide to our clients," Wylie said in a press release. "Our markets are similar in many ways, and the combined footprint makes a lot of sense for our platform."

The combined company would have 45 offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Wyoming.

Sunflower currently has nine branches in Colorado, including three branches it opened last year and six it got through acquisitions.

"We believe the expanded wealth management expertise of First Western as well as the additional growth opportunities in our adjacent markets will provide a meaningful path to our success for years to come," Hale Carter said in the release.

Both banks were advised by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, while Raymond James provided a fairness opinion to the seller. Nelson Mullins Riley Scarborough served as legal counsel to Sunflower and Hogan Lovells did so for First Western.

The combined board would be made up of select legacy Sunflower directors, certain legacy First Western directors and new directors chosen to guide the "the new institution's strategic focus and direction," the release said.

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