Home BancShares beefs up marine lending division with $405M acquisition

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 435 views 

Conway-based Home BancShares Inc., (HOMB) the publicly traded parent company of Centennial Bank, has a deal in place to acquire LH-Finance, the marine lending division of Bridgeport, Conn.,-based People’s United Bank, N.A.

LH-Finance, which was acquired by People’s United as part of its recent acquisition of Hartford, Conn.-based United Financial Bancorp, the holding company for United Bank, provides retail financing to end customers and wholesale financing to boat dealers.

Under the terms of the agreement announced Wednesday (Feb. 19), Centennial Bank will acquire approximately $405 million in LH-Finance loan balances from People’s United.  When the deal is completed, the loan portfolio will be housed within Centennial’s Shore Premier Finance division. Shore is a $517 million specialized marine lending division of Centennial Bank with a national platform for floor plan and retail loans. Shore will be responsible for servicing the acquired loan portfolio and originating new loan production.

“We have just returned from the Miami boat show, working with our Shore Premier Finance team,” Home BancShares chairman, CEO and president John Allison said in a statement. “The excitement and enthusiasm from manufacturers and dealers is very contagious.  Looks like perfect timing for HOMB.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. In connection with the deal, Centennial Bank plans to open a new loan production office in Baltimore, Md.

Shares of Home BancShares (NASDAQ: HOB) closed Wednesday at $19.62, up $0.20 or 0.1%. In the past 52 weeks, the stock has ranged between $21.04 and $16.38.

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