Acadiana Business

IberiaBank merging with Metairie-based Omni Bank

by Heather Miller

The combined branches and assets would make IberiaBank the fifth largest New Orleans area bank in terms of market share.

Analysts' predictions that Lafayette-based IberiaBank would not stop in its expansion efforts after losing a recent bid to acquire Whitney Bank were legit: The 123-year-old financial institution announced Tuesday it will acquire Omni Bancshares Inc., the holding company of Metairie-based Omni Bank.

The deal - expected to close by the second quarter of this year pending the required approval from Omni shareholders - will add 14 branches and roughly $646 million in deposits to IberiaBank's portfolio and almost double its market in the New Orleans metro area, according to a release from IberiaBank.

The stock-for-stock exchange agreement is valued at $40 million, with Omni shareholders receiving .33 shares of IberiaBank stock for each share of Omni common stock. Also as part of the deal, IberiaBank will assume $24 million in "trust preferred and holding company debt," according to IberiaBank.

"Today's announcement is an important step for IberiaBank to accelerate the growth of our Southeastern Louisiana franchise and, in particular, the New Orleans market," IberiaBank President and CEO Daryl Byrd said in a prepared statement. "Omni has a very attractive distribution networks, as well as outstanding associates and clients.  This combination ... represents a natural fit positioning us well to continue to serve and grow our combined client base."

The combined branches and assets would make IberiaBank the fifth largest New Orleans area bank in terms of market share. With 26 branches and $1.3 billion in deposits, IberiaBank's acquisition of Omni will represent 4 percent of the Greater New Orleans market. The top five ranking, however, is still three slots and 14 percentage points below Hancock-Whitney, which holds the No. 2 spot behind top-seated Capital One.

Omni has branches in Jefferson, St. John the Baptist, Orleans, East Baton Rouge and St. Tammany parishes. The 22-year-old bank reported total assets, deposits and equity of approximately $735 million, $646 million and $31 million, respectively, as of Dec. 31, 2010.

Mississippi-based Hancock Holding Co. announced its plans to purchase Whitney Bank in late December - after IberiaBank had been in negotiations to purchase Whitney, Louisiana's largest bank and a longtime rival, for more than three months.

For more on IberiaBank and the Whitney-Hancock merger, check out The Independent Weekly's Feb. 16 lead news story "Don't Bank on It."

Read more on IberiaBank's involvement with the Whitney-Hancock deal in the Feb. 23-March 22 issue of ABiz, which hits the stands Wednesday.