Pohlads' Marquette Financial expands banking foothold in Texas

The company is interested in making more acquisitions in the state, an official said.

The Pohlad family’s Marquette Financial Cos. is expanding its banking foothold in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

Marquette subsidiary Meridian Bank Texas, based in Fort Worth, is buying State Bank and Trust, a small-business bank based in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton, Marquette announced Wednesday.

The combined bank operations will have assets of nearly $450 million. Terms of the sale, expected to close by summer, weren’t released.

Larry West, Marquette Financial’s chief operating officer, said Marquette likes the strength of the Texas economy and that the acquisition puts its Texas bank in Dallas.

“Our goal in Texas is to be a more substantial player,” West said in an interview. “I don’t think this is the last transaction we’ll do in Texas. We’re acquisitive and interested.”

The Pohlad family, which owns the Minnesota Twins, has been in banking since the 1940s. They have a history in Texas, where they bought several community banks in the 1990s, consolidated them and sold them to Wells Fargo in 2002. Marquette Financial re-entered the market seven years ago when it launched Meridian Bank Texas, West said.

Meridian is the smaller of Marquette Financial’s two banks. The other is Meridian Bank in Phoenix, with $700 million in assets. The Pohlad family had to shore up the Phoenix bank after disastrous residential real estate expansions before the real estate bust and recession. The Arizona bank has climbed out of that hole and posted profits of $8.8 million last year.

Meridian Bank Texas focuses on commercial real estate, energy lending and business banking, and had profits of $3.3 million last year.

The bank it’s buying, State Bank and Trust Co., is owned by the Bright family of Dallas, has $185 million in assets and has focused on commercial real estate and business banking. The bank’s profits took a nose-dive last year to just $40,000 from $2.8 million the year before, government filings show.

Clay Bright, State Bank and Trust’s chairman and owner, told the Star Tribune that most of the decline came from charging off a loan to a used-car dealer for floor planning, a matter under litigation. Bright said his bank already was in discussions with Meridian and Marquette when that matter came to light and that it isn’t a factor in the decision to sell.

“I just am getting out of the banking business,” Bright said. “We either needed to grow or sell it.”

Bright is the son of the late H.R. “Bum” Bright, former Dallas Cowboys owner and founder of Bright Industries, which is in oil, real estate, small investment banking and homebuilding.

Clay Bright called the sale a good deal for his employees, and said he expects the three branches in Carrollton, Denton and near downtown Dallas to remain open.

 

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683

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