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Home BancShares Buys Florida Lender as 3 More U.S. Banks Fail

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Home BancShares Inc. purchased a collapsed Florida-based lender and financial institutions in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were also shut by regulators as U.S. bank failures this year rose to 149.

Home BancShares, based in Conway, Arkansas, purchased Carrabelle, Florida’s Gulf State Community Bank, according to a statement issued on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. website. The three lenders closed today had combined assets of $969.4 million. The seizures cost the agency’s deposit-insurance fund $199.5 million.

“We continue to execute on our very successful acquisition strategy in Florida,” Home BancShares Chief Executive Officer Randy Sims said in a statement. “Gulf State has been focused on the customers and the communities it serves for four decades, and this will continue.”

Bank failures in the U.S. have surpassed last year’s total of 140. The FDIC’s tally of “problem” banks climbed to 829 lenders with $403 billion in assets at the end of the second quarter, a 7 percent increase from the 775 on the list in the first quarter.

Home BancShares’ unit Centennial Bank has purchased six banks through the FDIC’s resolution process this year. The failed Florida bank, the state’s 28th in 2010, will contribute five branches and about $100 million of deposits to Centennial’s growing operations, Home BancShares said.

The acquirers of the other two failed banks this week paid the FDIC a premium to acquire deposits.

First Michigan Bank paid the FDIC a 0.5 percent premium for the deposits of Burlington, Wisconsin’s First Banking Center, the FDIC said. First Michigan, based in Troy, picked up about $750 million in assets, more than $660 million in deposits and 17 branches.

VIST Bank of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, paid a premium of 0.5 percent to acquire about $92 million in deposits from Allegiance Bank of North America, of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Allegiance’s collapse is Pennsylvania’s first in 2010. VIST will add five branches with the purchase.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dakin Campbell in San Francisco at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.

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