Change at top for region’s Wells Fargo banks

Congratulations to Bill Farrell, the current Wells Fargo market president in Boulder and Broomfield counties, as well as to his replacement, Sam Inman, who will come to our neck of the woods from a similar position for Wells Fargo’s northwest metro Denver region on Jan. 1.

Farrell will move his office to Denver, where he’ll serve as business banking manager for the central Denver team of Wells Fargo and Co. (NYSE: WFC).

It’s actually Farrell’s second time to say good-bye to Boulder from a banker role. He worked locally in the 1990s for Norwest Corp. Inman has worked for Wells Fargo for 12 years.

As an aside, Michael Matthews, Wells Fargo’s market president for metro Denver, lives in Boulder and tries to spend one day a week in the downtown Wells Fargo Bank office at 1242 Pearl St. Wells Fargo has 14 branches in Boulder and Broomfield counties.

Community banks rated

Kudos also go to two local community banks remaining here: AMG National Trust Bank and Flatirons Bank, both in Boulder.

AMG received a five-star rating — the highest available — from Bauer Financial Group Inc., a bank rating and research firm based in Coral Gables, Florida. Flatirons received four stars, a rating considered excellent while five are superior, said Karen Dorway, director of research at the firm. Bauer uses quarterly call report data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and analysis to come up with the proprietary star rankings.

“It’s unfortunate that the community banking industry is shrinking, but the two local (to Boulder) ones are doing great,” Dorway said. “You have great community banks in Boulder.”

Mile High Banks in Longmont, the other community bank based in the region, received a “zero” in the report because the bank is going through Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy, announced in October.

The bank is expected to be sold and recapitalized in 2013 with $90 million in new capital from Strategic Growth Bancorp, an El Paso, Texas-based bank holding company. Mile High Banks owes more than $43 million in debts, according to a bankruptcy court document.

All of Mile High Banks’ stock will be bought by Strategic Growth Bancorp for $5.5 million, subject to a court-ordered competitive bidding process in which other potential buyers could come forward.

The bank’s name and brand will not change, Dan Allen, bank president, has said in the past.

More ATMs for BBVA

BBVA Compass customers in the region now can use 21 new cash machines for free.

The Cardtronics (Nasdaq: CATM) machines already exist — mostly at Valero Corner Store gas stations, Safeway grocery stores and Costco discount retailer locations.

A new agreement between BBVA Compass, based in Birmingham, Alabama, and Cardtronics now makes them available to BBVA customers.

BBVA has two Boulder branches, a Lafayette office and a Longmont location. The bank’s holding company has $63.1 billion in assets and ranks among the 25 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share.

BBVA customers had 51 ATMs to choose from in Colorado before the new agreement was signed. Now, there are 229 to choose from, including two at Valero gas stations in Broomfield.

How to make a merger

Here’s a financial factoid to help round out your knowledge of the local small business market:

Merle Northrop is one of a small but elite cadre of brokers in the region who helps mostly companies with gross sales of $5 million to $25 million to merge or sell — usually when the owners are ready to retire.

Northrop, managing broker at Flatiron Ventures Inc. in Boulder worked on a project recently to merge the accounting and tax preparation firm Ford and Ford CPAs LLC in Boulder into Ford Gibbs & Associates LLC.

As part of the transaction, Denyse Gibbs and husband, Brian Gibbs, a retired Amgen Inc. employee, joined Jack and Mary Ellen Ford at the office at 1818 16th St. in Boulder. The Fords will transition out of the business over the next couple of years, and the Gibbses will transition in, Mary Ellen Ford said in an email.

Northrop said he focuses on marketing mid-market companies with gross sales of $5 million to $25 million. To find the value of a business he sells, he looks at a company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA. A sales price is usually set at a multiple of eight times the EBITDA figure, Northrop said.

Beth Potter can be reached at 303-630-1944 or

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