Acadiana Business

MidSouth makes First La. National Bank buy official

by Heather Miller

The Lafayette-based bank completed its acquisition of First Louisiana National Bank of Breaux Bridge for $11.5 million in cash and 725,000 shares of MidSouth common stock.

By weekend's end, First Louisiana National Bank signs in Lafayette, Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville will read MidSouth Bank.

MidSouth, headquartered in Lafayette, has completed its $11.5 million purchase of Breaux-Bridge based First Louisiana National, a three-branch bank with $115 million in assets. The purchase agreement also includes 725,000 shares of MidSouth common stock.

"What we acquired in First Louisiana is a healthy, well-run bank with a strong consumer market franchise," says MidSouth Bank President and CEO Rusty Cloutier in a press release. "This purchase is about two local community banks teaming up to better serve customers. We both believe we will be able to increase lending in St. Martin Parish by leveraging access to MidSouth's additional products and services, which are supported by a more technologically advanced banking platform and a much larger network of retail banking centers and ATMs."

First Louisiana National's Lafayette location will close on Dec. 16 and merge with a nearby MidSouth branch on Moss Street, since the two locations "are virtually side-by-side," according to the release. The MidSouth operations center in Breaux Bridge at 728 Berard St. will expand, but MidSouth's Breaux Bridge banking operations will move from its Berard Street location to First La. National's Mills Avenue branch in the first quarter of 2012.

The merging of systems, products and services will take place the weekend of Dec. 17, according to the release.

"Today we join forces with a familiar and trusted brand that has long been a friendly competitor," former First Louisiana executive James Fontenot, now the vice president/commercial lender for MidSouth Bank, says in the release. "The reality is that it is increasingly difficult for small banks to absorb the financial burden of more stringent regulatory requirements. And when you couple that with the uncertainty of the economic environment, you realize there is strength in numbers."

MidSouth, a subsidiary of MidSouth Bancorp Inc., had $1.2 billion in assets as of Sept. 30 and boasts 40 locations throughout Louisiana and Texas.