Community First Bank becomes first acquisition in Arkansas for Equity Bank

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Community First Bancshares, Inc., of Harrison, founded in 1997 and with two branches in Harrison and one each in Berryville, Eureka Springs and Pea Ridge, has merged with Equity Bancshares, Inc. of Wichita, Kansas, a company of 25 full service branches and 262 employees.

The transaction should be completed in the fourth quarter 2016, according to a press release from John Hanley, Director of Investor Relations with Equity and Jerry Maland, President and CEO of Community First.

Equity has 29 branches in Kansas and Missouri, and $1.5 billion in consolidated total assets, net loans of $935 million, and deposits of $1.2 billion, figures before the merger.

Community First’s assets are $475 million, net loans $352 million, and $395 million in deposits. The merger will make Equity the third largest bank holding company headquartered in Kansas, although the deal is subject to customary regulatory approval. Boards of both financial institutions have approved the transaction.

Equity Bancshares, Inc., is publicly held, and focuses on small to mid-size markets to supplement its two metro areas, Kansas City and Wichita. Equity banks are in Andover, Ellis, Hays, Topeka, and Overland Park, Kansas, and Knob Noster, Lee’s Summit, Sedalia, Warrensburg, Sweet Springs and others in Missouri. Arkansas is the third state for Equity’s expansion.

The name will change to Equity Bank in November according to CFB Eureka Springs President Elizabeth Kelley. “While we hate to say goodbye to our name, we are excited about the strength, resources and opportunities the partnership with Equity will offer us and our community,” she said.