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AmericanWest Bancorp to acquire Utah bank

Spokane-based AmericanWest Bancorp. has agreed to acquire a Utah bank in a $150 million transaction.

The acquisition is AmericanWest’s largest to date, said President and CEO Robert Daugherty.

AmericanWest will pick up Provo, Utah-based Far West Bancorp., parent company of Far West Bank, in a cash-and-stock deal. Far West has 16 branches in central and southern Utah.

Daugherty said the deal was attractive because AmericanWest had already entered the growing Utah market, opening a loan production office in the Salt Lake City area earlier this year.

In addition, Daugherty is familiar with the turf, having run Utah-based Draper Bank from 1997 through 2001, he said.

“Knowing the bankers I knew, knowing the CEO of Far West as well as I have… it just made a lot of common sense,” he said.

The Utah branches being acquired will continue using the Far West name, he said; another Utah financial institution already operates under the name America West Bank there.

Far West employs 255 people, most of whom will be retained following the acquisition, Daugherty said. Some back-office jobs will be consolidated with AmericanWest’s current operations, he said, but he doesn’t have a specific number yet. AmericanWest currently employs 530 people.

The transaction should be completed in the first quarter next year, subject to regulatory approval. Together, the banks are expected to have assets of about $1.8 billion and deposits of about $1.4 billion. The acquisition is expected to incur about $2.3 million in charges to AmericanWest.

AmericanWest currently operates 43 branches in central and Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

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