|Custer Bancorp, which owns seven Colorado financial institutions, including the Westcliffe branch of First State Bank of Colorado, has entered into an agreement to merge into TIG Bancorp, a newly formed holding company headquartered in Durango.
Wendy Rusk, marketing president of the Westcliffe branch, described the merger as somewhat of a lateral move that will better position the seven banks for future growth. In addition, she said, all 14 of the local bank’s employees will remain, and customers will see little change in day to day operations.
The announcement of the merger was made this past Friday, July 14, by Jeffrey Walker of Denver, president of First State Bank of Colorado. His father, well-known here in Custer County, is Craig Walker, also of Denver, who is majority shareholder of Custer Bancorp.
The financial terms of the merger have not been disclosed. The transaction is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2017 after regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. All seven of the banks will continue to operate under the name First State Bank of Colorado. “I’m pleased that the merger will create new opportunities for the bank and its employees while maintaining our community banking values,” said Rusk. “All staff will be retained and bank operations will continue as-is for the foreseeable future. The Westcliffe branch office is the largest of our seven branches and will continue to be an area of focus” for TIG Bancorp.
According to disclosures, First State Bank of Colorado has assets of approximately $220 million, with some $188 million in total deposits and $140 million in loans.
In addition to the Westcliffe location, there are four in Delta County – Hotchkiss, Delta, Paonia and Crawford – as well as branches in Denver and Fountain.
The Westcliffe bank is the top producer among the seven First State banks, with assets of $41 million, loans of about $40 million and deposits of some $58 million.
Key players in the new TIG Bancorp are long-time community bank executives Boyd Hodges and Gary Webb. Hodges most recently served as CEO of Colorado-based Pine River Valley Bank with facilities in Leadville, Olathe, Durango and Wray. Webb has more than 30 years’ experience in banking, accounting and financial services in Abilene and Waco, Texas and elsewhere.
“I’m excited to be a part of the continued growth and success of First State Bank of Colorado,” said Hodges.
Webb added, “The opportunity to create a regional community bank with deep ties to the larger community presents an exciting opportunity for our investors.”
First State Bank president Jeffrey Walker said the merger “will allow us to continue to serve markets where we currently reside, the ability to grow into new markets, and the ability to accelerate our existing organic growth. The partnership between our two groups will be of minimal impact to the community, the bank and our employees.”
The merger has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of Custer Bancorp. Serving on that board from here is Arlie Riggs.