- Warner-Robins, Georgia-based Robins Financial Credit Union said Tuesday it would acquire Forsyth, Georgia-based Persons Banking Company in an effort to bolster its commercial products and services.
- The announcement gave no details as to the deal's financial terms or timing.
- The transaction marks the second move by a credit union this year to buy a bank. Both deals have roots in Georgia. Georgia’s Own Credit Union said last week it would send to regulators a proposal to buy Smyrna-based Vinings Bank in a deal it hopes to close by October.
Buying Persons would add five locations to Robins' 22-branch footprint that counts more than 240,000 members. With more than $3.8 billion in assets, Robins is Georgia's second-largest credit union.
“We have a strategic commitment to bring the benefits of credit union membership to more people, while reinforcing our position as a strong and reliable financial institution,” Robins CEO Christina O’Brien said in a press release. “The addition of Persons Banking Company will allow us to expand our footprint and ensure that we are able to make a community impact as we live out our mission.”
Persons is no stranger to mergers and acquisition. It was formed in 2015 through the merger of four community banks: The Farmers Bank, The Peoples Bank, The Bank of Perry and Spivey State Bank. It held $429.5 million in assets as of Dec. 31.
“I am enthusiastic about the opportunity we have to partner with Robins Financial in an effort that we believe offers significant opportunities to our clients, communities, employees, and shareholders,” Persons CEO Ogden Persons said. “This partnership is an excellent opportunity to create value for both institutions.”
Credit unions proposed 13 acquisitions of banks in 2021, a number Michael Bell, co-leader of the financial institutions practice group at Honigman, said might double this year. “I expect 25-plus to announce. … My prediction is based on the work and deal flow I am seeing,” he told American Banker in January. “I have never seen so much activity.”
An uptick in bank purchases by credit unions is bound to upset trade groups such as the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), which argues credit unions’ tax-exempt status allows them to offer a higher purchase price for acquisitions than banks can, and lets them grow more freely.
"VyStar has either closed, moved, sold or consolidated half of the branches acquired" from a bank acquisition the credit union undertook in 2019, the ICBA and the Community Bankers Association of Georgia wrote in a joint letter.
VyStar and Heritage in October agreed to postpone — to Feb. 28, 2022 — the date by which they can terminate the deal. The financial institutions extended that timeline again Monday to March 31, noting they have not received sign-off from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance or the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.