Vista Bank to Acquire Charis Bank


Vista Bank has moved into Denton County | Image by BankSmart

Vista Bank’s parent company, Vista Bancshares, has agreed to purchase Charis Holdings Inc., the parent company of Charis Bank, in an all-stock transaction, according to the Dallas Business Journal (DBJ).

The acquisition agreement will push Dallas-based Vista Bank’s expansion into Denton County.

The terms were not disclosed and are pending regulatory approval. Vista CEO John Steinmetz said he hopes the deal can get approved by the end of the second quarter.

The acquisition will move Vista Bank closer to $1 billion in local deposits in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the DBJ. If the deal goes through, the bank will have $727 million in local deposits in DFW, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), as of June 30. 

In total, Vista Bank will have over $1.7 billion in assets under management and 200 employees. The deal will also give Vista Bank a branch in Justin, Texas, and Charis’ office in the Crescent in Uptown. Charis has been serving North Texas since 1907.

Vista has 14 locations in Texas, three in DFW, and the rest in and around Austin and West Texas.

“First and foremost, it had to do with the people and the culture of the company,” Steinmetz said of the deal. “If the numbers are right and the culture doesn’t fit, long term it’s not going to be a good deal. We felt like they were well-positioned. We felt like geographically they were in really good locations. We love the Tarrant County, Denton County area. We felt like it was a good area to continue to expand on the growth that they’ve experienced.”

The CEO called the Denton County cities of Justin and Argyle “incredible growth markets,” according to the DBJ.

Steinmetz also believes the banking industry in Texas will see massive consolidation. He said approximately 50% of banks in the Lone Star State are exploring mergers and acquisitions, particularly banks with older leadership that do not have a succession plan. 

“Over the next 10 years, I believe you’ll see the greatest consolidation here in Texas banking because of the increasing cost of technology, innovation, increased competition from fintechs and shadow banks, as well as the ongoing regulatory environment,” he said. 

Techcrunch affirmed this notion and said the consensus in the banking industry is that the current macroeconomic environment will result in more fintechs looking for a quick exit.

“Large banks should start preparing a shopping list, if they haven’t already, but also think long and hard about how they are going to support a fintech partnership or acquisition in order to make a success of it — there are many examples of failure,” Forbes contributor Sarah Kocianski, a fintech and insurtech strategy consultant, wrote.

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