Breaking: Business First Bank, MBL Bank to merge

MBL Bank is changing. In a deal announced this morning, Baton Rouge-based Business First Bank is acquiring Minden Bancorp and its subsidiary MBL Bank for $76.1 million.

According to a release issued this morning, a definitive merger agreement has been signed and the boards of both banks have approved the acquisition.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Minden Bancorp’s shareholders will receive cash consideration of $31.50 per share, or approximately $76.1 million. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

Once the deal is complete, Jack Byrd, Minden Bancorp’s and MBL Bank’s chairman, president and CEO, will join Business First’s and Business First Bank’s board of directors and serve as chairman of Business First Bank’s Northwest Region.

“Since 2006, I have watched Business First build a strong statewide footprint and am confident that the combined institution is well positioned to capitalize on the business opportunities in Northwest Louisiana and the broader footprint,” Byrd said. “Business First Bank and MBL Bank have similar operating and credit philosophies, so our employees and customers will benefit from the combination.”

“Over the past decade, we have worked consistently towards our goal of becoming the region’s most influential business-focused community bank,” Jude Melville, Business First president and CEO, said in a statement. “This partnership, in conjunction with our recently announced expansion into the Dallas, Texas, market, pushes us towards that goal by adding scale, a loyal client base, and a group of dedicated, entrepreneurial teammates to our efforts.”

MBL Bank was founded in 1910 and currently operates two branches in Minden. As of June 30, Minden Bancorp reported $322.9 million in total assets, $194.4 million in total loans, $259.1 million in total deposits and $48.6 million in total equity.

Business First Bank operates 19 offices, including 16 banking centers, two loan production offices and one wealth solutions office in markets across Louisiana and Texas. The acquisition will make Business First Bank the 9th largest bank in Louisiana with assets exceeding $1.5 billion.

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