Mission and Mojave Desert banks announce merger

Two Kern County-based banks have entered into an agreement to merge, an action they say will expand and strengthen the community financial services they provide to customers in the San Joaquin Valley, as well as in desert communities of Kern, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

Bakersfield-based Mission Ban-corp, the parent holding company for Mission Bank, which has two branches in metropolitan Bakers-field and one in Shafter, announced on July 24 that it has signed a definitive agreement to merge Mojave-based Mojave Desert Bank, which has branches in Mojave, Ridge-crest, Lancaster and Helendale, into Mission Bank.

“We are pleased to add Mojave Desert Bank’s customers to Mission Bank’s financial family,” said Mission Chief Executive Officer Richard Fanucchi.

“The combined two banks are uniquely suited to providing the personal attention that customers, particularly small businesses, have come to expect from these two institutions.”

“We are excited to be affiliated with a bank that has a similar philosophy of community banking and customer care,” said George Nagy, president and chief executive officer of Mojave Desert Bank.

“I look forward to working with Mission Bank and the opportunity to grow the customer base of our current branches.”

Nagy has been with Mojave Desert Bank for nearly seven years in his current position. Prior to that, he served in various management positions with Antelope Valley Bank in Lancaster for more than 25 years.

“George Nagy and his financial team have served eastern Kern County and the high desert well in sometimes troubling economic times, particularly during the recent recession that has been felt in all business sectors,” said Mission Bank President A.J. Antongiovanni,

He added that the proposed merger will allow the two banks “to streamline operations and respond to a growing regulatory burden.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Mission has agreed to pay approximately $7,190,000 in cash and shares of its common stock for Mojave Desert Bank common stock.

As of the end of March, Mission Bank had total assets of $269 million, total loans of $124 million and total deposits of $239 million.

At the same time, Mojave Desert Bank had total assets of $104 million, total loans of $50 million and total deposits of $95 million.

Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company expects to have approximately $373 million in total assets, $334 million in total deposits, $174 million in total loans and a network of seven branches.

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and the approval of the shareholders of Mojave Desert Bank, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012, when Mojave Desert Bank offices will become branches of Mission Bank.

“We are very excited about entering into this agreement. Our combined company will be recognized as the premier business bank in the southern San Joaquin Valley and high desert,” said Fanucchi.

Mojave Desert Bank is a locally owned and operated full-service commercial bank providing a full range of products and services including commercial, real estate and SBA loans, as well as cash management products and deposit services to businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals through Ridgecrest and its other three branches.

More information may be obtained at www.mojavedesert

bank.com.

Story First Published: 2012-08-01