Mark Yost
Reporter, Houston Business Journal

AcquisitionGeoff Greenwade, CEO of Houston-based Green Bank N.A., said the $46.2 million merger with Dallas-based SharePlus gives his bank a bigger footprint in Dallas, a mortgage business and concierge services that cater to large corporations.

"We have more than $1 billion in assets in Houston," Greenwade told the Houston Business Journal. "Before the merger, we had about $500 million in assets in Dallas. So this gives us more balance."

On May 5, Houston-based Green Bancorp Inc., the parent company of Green Bank, announced that it had agreed to acquire SP Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: SPBC), the parent company of SharePlus Bank, for $46.2 million in cash, or $29.55 a share. Green Bank has about $1.8 billion in assets, while SharePlus has about $300 million in assets. The deal is expected to close in third quarter of 2014.

"The merger also allows us to be a player in Plano," Greenwade told HBJ. "They also have expertise in mortgage lending," including 30-year, fixed-rate notes that SharePlus sells to investors.

"We did not have that product," Greenwade said.

One banking insider wondered why Green Bank, which is privately held, didn't execute a reverse merger and go public, especially since it has said that it has an appetite for acquisitions.

"At this point, our private equity partners felt better doing the deal this way," Greenwade said. "That is something we might want to look at in the future, but a reverse merger was more complicated."

The merger will give Green Bank seven offices in Dallas, three more than it currently has, and a stand-alone branch in Louisville, Kentucky.

SharePlus, founded in 1958, had been the corporate credit union for Frito-Lay, PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) and Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) before converting to a mutual federal savings bank in 2004, SharePlus President and CEO Jeff Weaver told HBJ. The bank went public in 2010 and then converted to a state-chartered commercial bank in December 2013. Because it had been a corporate credit union, SharePlus has a unique bank-at-work concept that was also attractive to Green Bank.

Partnering with large employers, some of SharePlus's bank-at-work locations are similar to retail bank locations in grocery stores. They're usually staffed by about three people who offer traditional banking services. Other locations have a concierge desk that's manned a few hours a day, a few days a week, as well as an ATM. And then there's bank-by-phone services.

"The appeal is that it has a very loyal customer base," Weaver told HBJ.

"It's a good way for us to grow our commercial banking business without investing in bricks and mortar," Greenwade said.

Weaver said he will stay with the bank but is not sure what role he will have.

"As we expand the mortgage origination business, I might have a role there," Weaver said. "Or in developing the bank at work concept. We think there are some opportunities with that."

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