First Federal Savings Bank of Iowa locations will become Great Western Bank branches, pending regulatory and shareholder approval of the planned merger.
Under an agreement announced Tuesday, Great Western Bancorporation Inc. will acquire North Central Banchares Inc., and as a part of the transactions, First Federal Savings Bank of Iowa will merge with Great Western Bank.
- First Federal was first opened as First Federal Savings and Loan in October 1954.
- First Federal merged with Home Federal Savings and Loan Association in Fort Dodge in 1967.
- Checking accounts were first offered at First Federal in September 1980.
- In June 1987, the corporate charter was changed to that of a mutual savings bank, First Federal Savings Bank of Fort Dodge.
- In 1994 and 1996, the mutual savings bank issued stock in two public offerings.
- In July 2011, First Federal Iowa completed its conversion to a state-chartered commercial bank, regulated by the Iowa Division of Banking.
The merger is expected to close this summer, subject to necessary approvals.
Aside from a name change and changes in some banking products, there should be no impact on customers, said David M. Bradley, First Federal's chairman of the board and chief executive officer.
"Our whole design is for it to have no impact on customers," Bradley said. "That's what made us attractive to another banking institution, the quality of the bank - not only our employees, but the customer base we have built over many years. We've been a solid institution for years and years in the Fort Dodge community."
"Both organizations share that commitment to serving customers better than any other in the marketplace." " said C. Thomas Chalstrom, First Federal's president and chief operating officer.
Despite assets of approximately $8 billion in the United States, Great Western, Bradley said, "is a community bank-based model, which is similar to our model."
"After careful and thoughtful consideration," he said, "the bank's board of directors determined that the merger agreement was ... in the best interest of the shareholders and long term, it will be good here in the Fort Dodge community and the other communities we serve.
"We want to thank all of our customers and staff here at First Federal," Bradley said. "Fort Dodge was the beginning of this organization, and we deeply appreciate everything this community has done for us. We see this as a way to enhance and add to the different services we are able to provide here in Fort Dodge."
Great Western, as Bradley pointed out, is in the top echelon of ag lending in the country.
"That's one of their niches, a strong commitment to ag," he said.
According to Great Western's 2010 annual report, it was the seventh largest agribusiness bank in the United States.
Shareholders of North Central will be entitled to receive approximately $41.5 million. Under the proposed agreement, the common stock of North Central will be converted into the right to receive $30.58 per share, representing a premium of 39 percent over the closing price on Monday, according to Great Western.
In a press release, Great Western Bank's president and CEO, Ken Karels, said the acquisition of North Central "will offer our customers greater service opportunities and convenience with a combined network of over 200 free ATMs and over 50 branches throughout Iowa. Customers will find our product and service offerings among the most competitive in the region."
Great Western Bancorporation Inc. is the holding company for Great Western Bank, which is a regional Midwestern bank, headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Contact Barbara Wallace Hughes at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com