Austin, Houston bank merger to create $1 billion institution


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Pioneer Bank SSB President and CEO Jeff Wilkinson Enlarge

Anthony Quesada

Pioneer Bank SSB President and CEO Jeff Wilkinson

The holding company of Pioneer Bank SSB has agreed to merge with the parent of a much larger financial institution, Sugar Land-based First Community Bank NA.

Pioneer Bancshares Inc., based in Dripping Springs, just west of Austin, disclosed Thursday that the combined bank would report assets of $1.1 billion and 22 Texas branches. It would also operate under the Pioneer Bank brand and remain headquartered in Dripping Springs, with Pioneer Bank President Jeffrey Wilkinson as CEO of the combined entity.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but Wilkinson said it was an all-stock deal. The merger is scheduled to be completed later this year or early 2016, according to a company statement. The combined company would employ about 250 workers.

Pioneer Bank, which was founded in 2007, operates five offices and reports assets of $409 million. Its locations are in Dripping Springs, Austin, Kerrville, San Marcos and La Grange.

First Community Bank was launched in 1985 as the Lake Area National Bank. In 2006, it was reorganized and relocated from Trinity, Texas, to Sugar Land. The bank now operates 17 offices and reports assets of $622 million. Locations include Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Waco, Crockett, Trinity, Hico and Meridian, the bank said in its announcement.

In 2009, First Community’s holding company, FC Holdings Inc., received $21 million from the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, during the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the Houston Business Journal reported.

Ron Coben, First Community’s chief operating officer, will remain in his position. The combined bank plans to maintain headquarters in Central Texas while retaining branch, administrative and support staff in each market.

In mid-2014, Pioneer Bancshares closed on a $12 million private placement of common shares that the company said would be used for loan growth and possible bank acquisitions. It sold 665,928 shares at $18 per share, after boosting the number of shares in the original offering in March 2014 by 105,928 shares due to strong demand, bank officials said at the time.