Citizens Business Bank announced last week that it entered into an agreement to merge with Pasadena-based Community Bank. Citizens will make the purchase at a price of approximately $878 million in stock and cash.
The deal will make Citizens the eighth-largest independent bank in California, increasing its total assets to more than $12 billion.
Bank leaders expect regulators to approve the merger sometime in the third quarter of 2018, at which point Community Bank will operate as Citizens Business Bank.
The deal will give Community customers an expanded branch and ATM network: Community currently has 16 locations and 430 employees and Citizens has 51 branches and 830 employees.
“We’re both very similar in terms of our culture,” said Christopher Myers, president and CEO of Citizens. “We’ve both stood the test of time, we’re both community banks. We’ve competed against each other a lot in the marketplace; both of our companies wanted to build long-term relationships with small to medium-sized businesses in our area, so we’ve seen them in the marketplace a lot, and we’ve admired each other from afar — or not so far.”
Since it was founded as Chino Valley Bank in 1974, Citizens Bank has grown from serving primarily the Inland Empire to much of Los Angeles and Orange counties. Once the banks consolidate, Community Bank’s current customers are expected to have access to 58 branches stretching from San Diego to Madera, Myers said.
Myers said that Citizens has been operating four branches on the same street as Community, and though that overlap will be addressed in the merger process, his company is thrilled to be adding Community branches in cities it doesn’t currently operate, including Century City, Commerce, Huntington Beach, Redlands, Santa Clarita and Santa Fe Springs.
“When you do a merger, it’s very important to have a similar culture and background, and what’s interesting about both companies is we both were formed by families,” said Myers, noting that both companies have at least one employee with a 40-year tenure. “We both have had that private family banking feel for our history.
“I’m excited about this,” he added. “Our goal is to continue to provide the same great service we’ve always done.”
Community Bank CEO David Misch said in a statement: “We are delighted to be joining forces with an organization that so strongly complements and builds upon Community Bank’s long-standing tradition of customer, employee and community focus.”