A Slam-Dunk Bank Deal that Can't Get Done

American Banker
Friday, August 1, 2014

The acquisition of First Tuskegee Bank in Alabama by CDFI bank Liberty Bank & Trust Co. of New Orleans should have been routine. The deal would combine two small minority-owned institutions in the Southeast, giving them additional heft to cope with new regulations. It would also help Liberty expand its originations of consumer, mortgage and commercial loans while adding more low-cost deposits. But federal and state regulators still have not approved the application they received nearly a year ago, marking an unusually long delay for an acquisition of this size. The companies have remained tight-lipped on the status of the deal, but they have not withdrawn the agreement. Kenneth Pickering, an attorney advising Liberty Bank on the acquisition, said the deal is still on and is awaiting regulatory approval.