By Rachel Madison
Union State Bank in Liberty Hill, along with its seven sister branches, was recently sold to Henderson-based Citizens National Bank.
The transaction, which was finalized in mid-January, means that the Florence-based Union State Bank (USB) branches will now convert and operate as branches of Citizens National Bank (CNB).
Brad Tidwell, president and CEO of CNB, said he saw USB as an excellent opportunity to acquire a good bank and to move into a great area for growth and future business.
“Bell and Williamson counties are both fast-growing counties in the state and in the country,” he said. “It was a really good business opportunity for us.”
Coleen Beck, president and CEO of USB, said in a CNB press release, “We’re thrilled to become part of the CNB team.”
CNB is a privately-owned community bank that was established in 1930 and until now has primarily served customers in East Texas through its 28 locations.
Union State Bank was chartered in 1928 in Florence when three banks — Florence State Bank, Briggs State Bank and Farmers State Bank — merged during the Great Depression. USB has been operated by the Beck family since 1955 and is headquartered in Florence. Its seven other branches are located in Killeen, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Round Rock, Harker Heights and Temple.
Tidwell said the two bank organizations combined makes Citizens National Bank a $2.2 billion bank with 36 locations. Formerly, Union State Bank was a $470 million bank and Citizens National Bank was a $1.75 billion bank.
Because most of CNB’s 28 branches are located in East Texas, this purchase allows the bank to grow in Central Texas.
“We are as far west as Corsicana and Mexia, so we just felt like [purchasing Union State Bank gave us] really great markets to enter into,” Tidwell said. “You want to be in good markets, but you also want to be partnering with good people and good banks. Union State Bank certainly met both those criteria. They have eight very well-located branches. That was one of the things that really appealed to us.”
Tidwell said Liberty Hill residents can expect to be doing business with the same people at their local branch as well as at the other locations.
“Customers will still be working with the same people,” Tidwell said. “Over time there will be additional products and services, but nothing will be taken away. Union State Bank doesn’t do anything we don’t do, so all the services will be additive. We’re a larger bank and so we have some products and services Union State Bank wasn’t able to offer like wealth management services, expanded mortgage services, expanded treasury management services and things like that that we intend to bring to the table.”
Tidwell added that CNB will also look at expanding locations over time.
“Initially we’ll take the eight branches they had and try to grow them, but I could see us over time looking at places in Williamson and Bell counties to expand into,” he said.
Eventually, the eight USB branches will have their names changed over to Citizens National Bank, but that won’t happen until the last half of 2018. Tidwell said there are some significant data processes the banks must go through to convert entirely over to CNB systems first.
Until that change occurs, USB customers are not able to utilize CNB branches for day-to-day banking, but they are able to use all of the organization’s ATMs with no charge.
Tidwell said specifically in Liberty Hill, there are no major plans for change right now, but expansion in the future is a major goal.
“Our plan is to continue to expand our services in Liberty Hill and up and down that 183 corridor,” he said. “We see that as a really nice opportunity for us. That 183 corridor is really a gem and we’re looking to expand in that area. We’re a big mortgage lending bank, so that is something that we see that we can be competitive with, particularly in the Liberty Hill and Leander areas.”
Tidwell added that as an institution, CNB was very intentional with the purchase of USB because of the market it’s in.
“We believe this market in Williamson County is one of the best in the country for growth right now,” he said. “We’ve been around for 87 years, so we’re not a new bank. We’re planning on being around for 87 more. That’s something I can say to people with a lot of credibility. We’re really committed to the long term.”