The Bank Slate


Bank First in Wis. to bolster ag lending with bank deal

Bank First in Manitowoc, Wis., has agreed to buy Denmark Bancshares in Denmark, Wis. 

The $2.9 billion-asset Bank First said in a press release Wednesday that it will pay $119.5 million in cash and stock for the $688 million-asset parent of Denmark State Bank. The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter, priced Denmark as 175% of its tangible book value.

Denmark has seven branches, $479.4 million of loans and $614.5 million of deposits. 

Bank First said Denmark’s clients will benefit from its 49.8% ownership of UFS, a technology firm that provides digital, core, cybersecurity, managed IT and cloud services to banks in the Midwest. 

Denmark, meanwhile, has a “highly knowledgeable” agriculture team, Bank First said. 

“Denmark is a long-standing organization focused on relationship banking,” Mike Molepske, Bank First’s president and CEO, said in the release. “Together, we will continue our shared mission of building meaningful relationships and strengthening the communities we serve by providing value-driven financial solutions and giving back through volunteerism and philanthropic initiatives.”

Bank First plans to cut half of Denmark’s annual noninterest expenses. The company expects to incur $10.7 million in merger-related expenses. 

The deal should be 4.9% accretive to Bank First’s 2022 earnings per share. It should take less than three years for the company to earn back an estimated 3.3% dilution to its tangible book value. 

Hovde Group and Alston & Bird advised Bank First. Piper Sandler and Godfrey & Kahn advised Denmark.

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