WARTBURG — Citizens First Bank has tentatively entered an agreement to have its holding company acquired by the parent company of Bank of Putnam County.
CFB announced Tuesday (October 9) that it had received what it termed an unsolicited offer from BPC Corporation to purchase CFB Bankshares, which owns all the stock of the local bank. The offer has to be approved by CFB Bankshares’ shareholders, as well as federal regulatory authorities.
BPC Corporation has its roots in the Bank of Monterey, which opened in 1901, and currently has branches in Putnam, White, Overton, Fentress and Cumberland counties. The acquisition of CFB will expand BPC’s footprint to include Scott, Morgan, Roane and Anderson counties, bringing its total number of branch banks to 19.
In making the announcement last week, CFB said that the acquisition will allow Billy Rice and his management team to continue to make local decisions, while also leaving the board of directors and staff intact.
Rice is the president and CEO of Citizens First Bank and has been a banker for 33 years.
“The customers will benefit from this merger by having more banking offices available in adjoining cities, more ATMs, more products and services,” CFB said in a news release. “Customers will still see the same people for loan and deposit products and we will continue to cash your check every month at no charge with you. As always, this is being done with our customers in mind and we believe it will be good for our customers, employees and communities.”
The current CEO of BPC is Jack Ray. The Ray family has been involved in banking for six generations, and BPC prides itself on being a family-owned business.
“This addition to our banking family will bring us new branch offices in Wartburg, Oliver Springs, Oneida, Harriman and Oak Ridge,” said Ray. “These markets bring us a wonderful opportunity to expand our company and focus on continuing the outstanding customer service on which both operations have built their brand.”
The acquisition will bring BPC Corporation’s total assets close to $1 billion.
CFB said in its statement last week that BPC had “looked at other institutions in our area and realized Citizens was safer and had a larger market share.”
Citizens First Bank is one of three banks with branches in Scott County. First National Bank, a locally-owned bank that was founded in 1904, is joined by CFB and United Cumberland Bank. UCB was founded in 1921 as First Trust & Savings Bank and in 1994 was purchased by the parent company of Bank of McCreary County. In 2014, the two banks merged to form UCB. A fourth local bank, Peoples Bank of the South, announced earlier this year that it is closing its Oneida branch.