Liberty Bank and Trust Company, the Gulf Coast region’s largest Black-owned bank, said it is buying Tri-State Bank of Memphis, bringing it into the Tennessee market for the first time.
The acquisition will add Tri-State’s $105 million in assets, bringing Liberty’s total assets to $965 million, just shy the $1 billion-asset target for the minority-focused community bank set this year by Liberty’s long-time CEO Alden McDonald.
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The two companies said the acquisition is for cash but did not disclose the amount Liberty is paying for Tri-State. The Memphis bank has $95 million in deposits, the banks said in a statement announcing the transaction Thursday after markets closed.
In addition to New Orleans and now Memphis, Liberty operates branches in Baton Rouge; Detroit; Forest Park, Illinois; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; and Montgomery and Tuskegee, Alabama, according to its website.
“Both Tri-State and our board have a history of serving the underbanked, and this merger offers more financial access, products, banking technology and enhanced capacity for lending,” said McDonald in the statement announcing the takeover.
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McDonald joined Liberty when it was founded in 1972 and has been its CEO since the mid-1970s.
Tri-State was founded in 1946. Its chairman, Archie Willis, said: “Combining with Liberty, an extremely well-run institution that shares our culture, will enhance our ability to serve our customers.”
Earlier this year, Liberty was one of three banks in which JP Morgan Chase, the country’s largest bank, invested so-called Tier-1 capital as part of its $30 billion program to invest in black-owned financial services companies launched last summer.
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The $16 million JP Morgan investment will allow Liberty to grow its assets — that is, increase its lending — by about $150 million, McDonald said.
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