Holding company to buy FirstBank

By Darrell Todd Maurina

A Clovis bank whose history dates back to 1934 has agreed to be acquired by First National Bank Holding Company, a company with subsidiaries in Arizona and Nevada.
Norman Corzine, chairman of the board for the holding company that owns FirstBank in Clovis, said the acquisition will be good for Clovis customers.
“Our customers will basically have some additional products brought to them, particularly on the merchant side,” Corzine said. “This gives us the flexibility for larger loan deals than we’re currently capable of handling. They have other services such as investment services we currently cannot offer.”
FirstBank currently has a loan limit of $2.5 million. The loan limit for the combined entity will be $20 million, which Corzine said should make commercial banking easier.
Corzine said he expects the current officers, directors, and employees of FirstBank will remain in place. The holding company for FirstBank, Access Anytime BanCorp, will dissolve and FirstBank will become a third subsidiary of National Bank Holding Company.
The transaction, expected to close in the third quarter, is valued at about $22 million including amounts payable to holders of stock options and other rights to acquire Access Anytime BanCorp stock, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.
Approval by stockholders and federal regulators is still needed, but Corzine didn’t expect problems.
“Both institutions are categorized as well-capitalized so we don’t anticipate any hitch,” Corzine said.
Founded in 1998, First National Bank Holding Co. will have assets of about $1.64 billion and 41 full-service banking centers in three Southwestern states when the acquisition is completed. The sale price will be $14.49 per share in cash, representing about a 42 percent premium over the $10.20 closing market price of Access Anytime BanCorp’s common stock Monday.
The Clovis-based company’s stock was recently trading at $14.20.
Founded as First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Clovis, the Clovis-based bank has until now limited its operations to New Mexico and retained its headquarters in Clovis, where most of its employees still work. Corzine said he expects the new ownership will assist in opening more branches around New Mexico, leading to more jobs for the state but not necessarily in Clovis.
Corzine said Clovis residents can be pleased by the acquisition of a local bank.
“It brings a larger capital base to the parent company of FirstBank and that is always good for a New Mexico community to have a larger corporation associated with a local enterprise,” Corzine said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.