LITTLE ROCK — Little Rock-based Metropolitan National Bank is expected to be acquired by a limited liability company tied to Dallas billionaire banker Gerald L. Ford, its top executive said Friday.
Metropolitan CEO Lunsford Bridges said the privately held Little Rock bank would change ownership after a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding of Rogers Bancshares, the holding for the bank under the leadership of businessman Doyle Rogers, who died in February at the age of 94.
Ford Financial Fund II, a private equity fund led by Ford and his partner, Carl Webb, has created Little Rock Acquisition LLC. That entity will purchase all of Rogers Bancshares’ stock in Metropolitan National Bank for $16 million and recapitalize the financial institution. The capital reinvestment amount is not known at this time, according to bank officials, and will be determined after the bankruptcy court evaluates assets of the holding company. The bankruptcy will dispose as much as $25 million in TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds once borrowed by the bank holding company to stabilize the bank’s capital.
Metropolitan has operations and branches throughout Central and Northwest Arkansas.
In its most recent quarter, the bank posted a profit of $662,000 compared to a loss of $1.04 million in the first quarter of 2012. It has struggled with profitability since the 2008-2009 recession and its capital ratios led to its oversight by the feds.
"The bank will continue with same name, management group, employees, and be recapitalized," Bridges said in an interview with Arkansas News Bureau business columnist Roby Brock. "This is great for the bank and for Arkansas."
Bridges said the Rogers Bancshares bankruptcy will involve an auction, but Ford Financial Fund II will have the opportunity to match the highest bid.
Ford and Webb will join the Metropolitan bank board, Bridges said.
Ford is a Texas-born, self-made billionaire who amassed his fortune buying and selling banks beginning in the 1970′s.
His most recent venture, Hilltop Holdings, did its first deal last year when it acquired PlainsCapital Corp., a Dallas-based financial institution. The $520 million deal was a cash and stock transaction, according to the American Banker magazine.
PlainsCapital Corp, the holding company for the $5.7 billion-asset PlainsCapital Bank, PrimeLending and FirstSouthwest, also maintained its name after the transaction.