The acquisition is expected to strengthen Bank First’s franchise with a large branch network and market share in central Wisconsin

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Bank First to merge with Hometown. (Credit: Scott Graham on Unsplash)

Bank First Corporation, the holding company of Bank First, has entered into a merger agreement with Hometown Bancorp to acquire the latter in a stock-and-cash deal valued at around $124m.

Hometown Bancorp is the holding company of Hometown Bank, a Wisconsin state-chartered bank that provides lending, investment, personal and business financial services.

Under the terms of the deal, Hometown shareholders are expected to receive either $29.16 in cash or 0.3962 of Bank First share, in exchange for each Hometown share held.

The agreement also includes customary proration and allocation procedures, where at least 70% of Hometown shares will be exchanged and up to 30% will receive cash consideration.

As part of the transaction, Hometown president and CEO Tim McFarlane will be appointed as Bank First president and join the company’s board of directors.

In addition, Bank First Corporation and Bank First’s chief executive officer and boards of directors chairman Mike Molepske will continue in his current roles.

The transaction, approved by the boards of directors of both companies, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to certain closing conditions.

The closing conditions include regulatory approval, Hometown’s shareholders’ approval, and receipt of a conversion date from UFS and Fiserv.

Bank First president and chief executive officer Mike Molepske said: “We are excited to welcome Tim McFarlane and the relationship-focused team of bankers at Hometown to Bank First. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Tim throughout my banking career and working with him as well.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with Tim and his team as we combine our organisations. Together, we will provide exceptional value to our employees, customers, and shareholders.”

The acquisition enables Bank First to provide a wide range of customised retail banking products and loan programmes to Hometown customers.

In addition, the shareholders and customers of Hometown will also benefit from Bank First’s 49.8% ownership of banking technology company UFS.

UFS provides digital, core, cybersecurity, managed IT, and cloud services to local banks.

The relationship between Bank First and UFS will help Hometown in creating opportunities to rapidly access the advancements in banking technology.

Hometown had around $627.6m consolidated assets, $421.2m gross loans, $538.7m deposits and $65.5m consolidated stockholders’ equity, as of 30 June 2022.

The combined company is expected to have a total of around $4.3bn in assets, $3.3bn in loans and about $3.7bn in deposits.

Hometown president and chief executive officer Tim McFarlane said: “By joining with Bank First, we found an opportunity to align with a partner that shares our passion for providing personalised customer service and shows a genuine concern for the well-being of our employees, customers, and communities.

“We see a great opportunity to complement Bank First’s strengths while leveraging their capabilities to add value to our customers in the form of leading-edge technology and a large breadth of retail and business offerings.”

Piper Sandler & Co. served as financial advisor and Alston & Bird as legal counsel to Bank First, while Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren served as legal counsel to Hometown on the transaction.

Earlier this year, Bank First signed an agreement and plan of merger with Denmark Bancshares, the holding company of Denmark State Bank.