Community Bank Grows Through Acquisition

Business First Bancshares, Inc. (“Business First”), the holding company for Business First Bank, has completed its acquisition of Richland State Bancorp, Inc. (“Richland State”) and its wholly owned bank subsidiary, Richland State Bank. The acquisition became effective November 30, 2018, in accordance with the terms of the previously announced agreement.

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“This merger continues our momentum toward our overall goal of becoming the region’s most influential business-focused community bank,” said Jude Melville, President and CEO of Business First. “We look forward to working with the talented and committed Richland State Bank employees to continue delivering to clients the same level of expertise and service they are accustomed to receiving from their bank, along with a broader combined product set.”

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Richland State Bank’s seven branches located across northern Louisiana will continue to operate as branches of Business First Bank. Jerome Vascocu, the former President and CEO of Richland State and Richland State Bank, will serve as director on the boards of both Business First and Business First Bank and as Chairman of Business First’s Northeast Region.

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With the completion of the acquisition, Business First has approximately $2.1 billion in assets, $1.5 billion in loans and $1.7 billion in deposits, and now serves its customers from 24 full-service banking centers.

Stephens Inc. acted as financial advisor and Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford, LLP acted as legal advisor to Business First. National Capital, LLC acted as financial advisor and rendered a fairness opinion, and Kantrow, Spaht, Weaver, & Blitzer (APLC) acted as legal advisor, to Richland State.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at