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Bear State improves earnings before Arvest buyout

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As Arvest Bank seeks to close its $391 million purchase of Bear State Financial Inc. (Nasdaq: BSF), the Little Rock, Arkansas-based company reported improved full-year earnings of 17 percent.

The operator of three Bear State Bank branches in Springfield posted a 2017 increase in earnings to $20.4 million, or 54 cents per diluted share, from $17.5 million, or 46 cents per diluted share, in 2016, according to a news release. Privately held Arvest expects to wrap up its purchase of Bear State in the first quarter.

Full-year financial notes:
    •    Net interest income rose 12 percent to $75.5 million.
    •    Salaries and employee benefits totaled $28.5 million, an 8.5 percent decrease from 2016.
    •    The company took a one-time $2.5 million charge after revaluing its deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities related to federal tax reform.

Bear State, which entered the Springfield market through a $70 million purchase of Metropolitan National Bank in 2015, agreed to sell to Arvest in August. The move will nearly double Arvest’s deposit market share across the five-county Springfield metropolitan statistical area, according to Springfield Business Journal reporting.

As of Dec. 31, Bear State held assets of $2.2 billion and deposits of $1.5 billion, according to the release.

BSF shares closed Friday at $10.28, compared with a 52-week range of $8.66 to $10.37 per share.

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