U.S. Bank’s sale of Texas banks shows focused growth strategy

It may not seem like shedding assets is part of a growth strategy, but U.S. Bank’s pre-Thanksgiving  announcement that it is shopping three recently acquired banks in Texas demonstrates the Minneapolis-based bank holding company’s strategic focus.

In October U.S. Bank announced it was acquiring the nine failed banking subsidiaries of FBOP Corporation of Oak Park, Ill., from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC). The package included three Texas banks — Citizens National Bank of Teague, Madisonville State Bank of Madisonville and North Houston Bank of Houston — along with six other banks in California, Illinois and Arizona, which will remain a part of the U.S. Bank franchise.

At the time of that acquisition, Richard C. Hartnack, vice chairman in charge of all consumer banking, described the acquisitions as part of “our long-term, well-articulated strategy. We look at our 24-state footprint and ask what markets do we have the opportunity to grow market share, earnings growth, client service.” Key targets for the bank are Arizona, California, Nevada and the Chicago metropolitan area.

The single-branch banks did not fit with that growth strategy. Selling them “is a better alternative for depositors and employees” of the acquired banks, said spokesman Steve Dale. Asked if the bank has the Lone Star state in its sights, Dale added that “Texas is still a very attractive market.”

U.S. Bank never had a presence in Texas prior to this acquisition and has not sold banks acquired from the FDIC in the past two years, Dale said.  The sales are expected to be completed early in the second quarter of 2010. Customers of these three Texas banks should continue to conduct their banking activities using their typical customer service channels, according to the company’s announcement

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with $265 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the sixth largest commercial bank in the United States. The company operates 2,851 banking offices and 5,175 ATMs in 24 states, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage and trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at usbank.com.

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