Banking & Finance  June 6, 2024

Academy Bank set to acquire Westminster bank

WESTMINSTER — A Kansas City, Missouri-based bank will acquire Mountain View Bank of Commerce, increasing its Colorado presence to 28 offices by the end of the year.

Academy Bank, N.A, which has 72 offices in Colorado, Arizona, Kansas and Missouri, reported that it will acquire the small local bank by the fourth quarter.

The acquisition, though of a much smaller bank, will bolster Academy’s presence in Colorado and be a shot in the arm to Academy’s focus on commercial and business banking, said Paul Holewinski, CEO of Academy Bank. As of March 31, Mountain View had $188 million in assets.

“For us, it’s very much about the right size. If you look back at our company historically, we’ve done acquisitions in the $100 million to $400 million range, so this fits very nicely within that,” Holewinski said in an interview. “Mountain View’s focus is on business and business clients, and we have that same focus in addition to having stronger retail deposits and an (existing) presence in Colorado.

“For us, it was about the people, their business model and felt as we went through this process, that culturally, they would be a great fit.”

According to 2023 market share reports from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Mountain View Bank of Commerce as of July 2023 commanded not quite 1% of the Colorado market and 2.13% of the Adams County market.

The acquisition will be Academy Bank’s first in Colorado, already having 26 established branches up and down the Front Range since 2001. In 2015, Academy began acquiring banks and opening branches in Arizona and Missouri. Today, the bank has 27 branches in Missouri, 13 in Kansas, and six in Arizona. The two additional offices from Mountain View include a loan-production office in Boulder and a branch in Westminster.

“Colorado has always been on our minds from a growth standpoint, and we’ve done a fair amount organically with our existing footprint,” Holewinski said. “We are scheduled to open a new (Denver) location hopefully in the first quarter of 2025. We are scouting out other locations, as well, so very much our strategy is around meeting customers where they are.”

He said acquiring Mountain View will be much like a third leg to the stool to add to their presence in the Denver Tech Center and in Colorado Springs.

 “Our plan would be to expand this platform from there,” he said. “We see great growth potential.”

Indeed, Academy will acquire a bank that has been growing. Mountain View’s deposits have more than doubled since 2018 (when it had $76 million in deposits), according to FDIC reports. Mountain View now comes to the table with $188 million in assets, $153 million in deposits and $11.4 million in commercial and industrial loans, according to first-quarter earnings reports.

Academy Bank is a strong commercial lender, with $595 million in commercial and industrial loans on the books, and more than $2.7 billion in assets, according to its first-quarter earnings report. Holewinski said Mountain View’s commercial and industrial loan balance “is a good place to start.”

“They have achieved some really good growth and that’s a testament to the market in north Denver,” Holewinski said. “We think with our higher lending limit, and strong capital base, it puts us in a better position. We can lend to larger borrowers without having to find a participant to share some of the risk. As a smaller bank, Mountain View was limited in what they could do from a loan size standpoint.”

Academy Bank branches include in-store Walmart locations, business banking hubs, tech-forward community branches, and Express Interactive Teller Machines. 

Holwewinski said Academy is not tied to any one model to deliver banking services, and still finds use in having bricks and mortar branches. “We’re focused on good corners with high traffic areas and smaller footprints,” he said.

Andy Ellison, president and CEO of Mountain View Bank of Commerce, stated in a press release, “We are excited about the innovative technology, branch network, and product set that combining with Academy Bank will bring to our clients.”

Olsen Palmer LLC acted as financial adviser to MVBC, and Stinson LLP served as its legal adviser in the transaction. Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP acted as legal adviser to Academy Bank.

Academy Bank will acquire Mountain View Bank of Commerce, increasing its Colorado presence to 28 offices by the end of the year.

Sharon Dunn
Sharon Dunn is an award-winning journalist covering business, banking, real estate, energy, local government and crime in Northern Colorado since 1994. She began her journalism career in Alaska after graduating Metropolitan State College in Denver in 1992. She found her way back to Colorado, where she worked at the Greeley Tribune for 25 years. She has a master's degree in communications management from the University of Denver. She is married and has one grown daughter — and a beloved English pointer at her side while she writes. When not writing, you may find her enjoying embroidery and crochet projects, watching football, or kayaking and birdwatching on a high-mountain lake.
Sign up for BizWest Daily Alerts