Anchor Bank of St. Paul is buying Voyager Bank of Eden Prairie, which has struggled with management turmoil and lagging financial performance in recent years.
The acquisition of "substantially all" of the assets of Voyager would make Anchor Bank the sixth-largest Twin Cities bank, with combined assets of $1.7 billion and 19 locations.
Anchor President Jeff Hawkins said in an interview Tuesday that the Voyager purchase will give Anchor a markedly expanded presence in the southwest Twin Cities suburbs through offices in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Shakopee. Voyager also operates a Mankato office.
Anchor declined to specify the price it will pay for Voyager, which has stockholder equity of $29.5 million, according to filings with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).
Anchor, with loans and other assets of $1.44 billion, is the larger, financially stronger institution.
The last couple of years, Voyager — with assets of $336 million — has earned less than a 0.5 percent return on assets and 5 percent return on equity, below average in the postrecession banking business.
"We've acquired nearly all of their loans," Hawkins said. "Their asset quality today is very strong. They've done a good job the last couple of years. Their asset quality and loan types match up with ours very well. That was very appealing."
Voyager, which had net income of $1 million in the first nine months of this year, has 65 employees.
"We'll meet with their staff and look at their staffing levels," Hawkins said. "Our key objective is to keep their front-line, customer-facing personnel. They have a high-touch approach, similar to ours."
Anchor Bank, around since 1967, had net income of $13.65 million, and a return of 1.3 percent on assets, during the first nine months of this year.
The combined institution will boast $1.5 billion in deposits and more than $1.7 billion in total assets.
The acquisition is expected to close by the second quarter.
In 2011, Voyager Bank accused its former longtime CEO of bilking it out of nearly $15 million in personal loans in order to maintain a lifestyle that included a $4.5 million Lake Minnetonka home, a $2.5 million cabin, and Bentley and Aston Martin luxury vehicles.
In turn, ousted CEO Tim Owens sued for wrongful termination and accused Voyager Bank of using him as a scapegoat for the bad decisions of others. Owens said that, after a 2010 heart attack, the bank and other defendants conspired to use him as a scapegoat for bad decisions that caused losses and gain control of his Voyager stock at historically depressed prices.
In 2012, Lakeville real estate consultant Kevin Arthur Dahl pleaded guilty to bank fraud related to loans he took out, including from Voyager Bank, for a condo development in Aspen, Colo.
Hawkins said he believed the Owens litigation has been settled and was not an issue in the Anchor acquisition.
Owens' lawyer declined to comment Tuesday.
Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144