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2020 M&A Trend Continues as SmartBank Completes Progressive Deal

Also, Regions Bank has announced the planned acquisition of equipment finance lender Ascentium Capital

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  • Written by  Banking Exchange staff
2020 M&A Trend Continues as SmartBank Completes Progressive Deal

SmartFinancial, the Tennessee-based parent company of SmartBank, has completed the acquisition of Progressive Financial Group, initially announced in October last year.

In a statement released today, SmartFinancial said the combined new entity had total assets of $2.7 billion as of December 31, 2019.

SmartFinancial’s president and chief executive officer Billy Carroll said the acquisition would grow the group’s presence in Tennessee, including expanding into the Upper Cumberland region in the center of the state.

He added that Progressive’s insurance business was an important new line of operations for the group that would provide “greater resources to our clients” once fully integrated.

The bank’s track record of serving a student customer base was also a factor in the acquisition, according to Miller Welborn, SmartFinancial’s chairman, with the company having college customers in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Murfreesboro and Tuscaloosa. Progressive adds Cookeville, home of Tennessee Tech University, to this list.

Ottis Phillips, chief executive of Progressive, has now joined the SmartFinancial board of directors. Speaking at time of the announcement of the merger in October, Phillips said the deal was “a win-win for all parties involved”.

SmartBank now has 35 branches across Tennessee, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle, according to a statement from the company.

Separately, last week Regions Bank announced an agreement to acquire Ascentium Capital, a specialist equipment finance lender, from private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Ascentium had roughly $2 billion in loans and leases as of the end of December 2019, according to a statement from Regions, and originated $1.5 billion last year.

Ronnie Smith, senior executive vice president and head of the Regions Corporate Banking Group, said Ascentium’s management team had “built a strong company known for providing America’s small businesses access to the capital they need to grow”.

“Leveraging the technology, speed and convenience that Ascentium Capital is known for in combination with Regions’ broad spectrum of banking solutions provides a meaningful opportunity to attract new customers and deepen relationships across our combined customer base,” Smith added.

Regions said the transaction would provide it with a “scalable, tech-enabled equipment finance organization” with a proprietary underwriting technology platform.

Tom Depping, chief executive of Ascentium, said the deal would allow his company to expand its “reach and relevance”.

The deal is expected to complete during the second quarter of 2020, subject to regulatory approval.

S&P 500-listed Regions Financial Corporation is one of the largest consumer and commercial banks in the US, with $126 billion in assets. It also provides wealth management and mortgage products and services to customers across the South, Midwest and Texas.

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