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Guaranty signs first full acquisition

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Guaranty Federal Bancshares Inc. (Nasdaq: GFED) signed on for the first full bank acquisition in its history.

Bank officials announced this morning the acquisition of Carthage-based Hometown Bancshares Inc. Chief Financial Officer Carter Peters said the moves comes years after Guaranty’s purchase in the early 2000s of a few branches of Commercial Federal Bank.

Through the Hometown Bank deal, the operator of Guaranty Bank will gain seven new branches, enter the two new counties of Newton and McDonald and strengthen its existing presence in Jasper County, according to a news release.

“This transaction … provides the opportunity for Guaranty to fulfill a strategic objective of further expansion in the Joplin (metropolitan statistical area) where we have already seen significant loan growth since the establishment of our loan production office in April of 2016,” Guaranty President and CEO Shaun Burke said in the release.

Hometown Bank operates two branches apiece in Carthage and Joplin and one each in Neosho, Oronogo and Pineville. As of Sept. 30, it held assets of $183 million, deposits of $159 million and loans of $150 million.

Through the purchase expected to finalize in the first quarter — with the complete merger of Hometown into Guaranty in the second or third quarter — the Springfield-based banking company would have a combined $950 million in assets and 18 branches, according to the release.

In the third quarter, Guaranty reported net income available to common shareholders rose 16 percent to $4.7 million. Earlier this month, the company opened its 11th branch, at Farmers Park.

GFED shares were trading at $21.56 as of 11:10 a.m., compared with a 52-week range of $15.89 to $23.71.

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