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Bank of the Ozarks could move from $10B to $20B by year-end


Banking Essentials Newsletter - February Edition, Part 2


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Street Talk – Episode 74: Investor sees legs in strong credit performance, US bank stock rally


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Bank of the Ozarks could move from $10B to $20B by year-end

, which passed$10 billion in assets at the beginning of the year, could grow to $20 billion bythe end of 2016 through its two pending acquisitions and rapid organic growth.

Chairmanand CEO George Gleason II pushed 2016 organic loan growth guidance to $3.5 billionfrom $3 billion during the bank's second-quarter earnings call July 11, adding thatit would be unsurprising if organic loan growth accelerated from its current pacein the remainder of the year.

"Withthe closing of our two pending transactions and our expected organic growth, ourtotal assets could be close to or in excess of $20 billion at year-end, with a strongorganic growth trajectory in place for future years," he said, noting thatthis growth will utilize the enhanced infrastructure the bank has built in the lastfew quarters.

Already,the Little Rock, Ark.-based bank is experiencing the regulatory shift associatedwith surpassing $10 billionin assets, Gleason said. Examinations have moved from a seasonal cluster at theend of summer and beginning of fall to a continuous monthly series of visits. Thebank began its new exam cycle in April with a targeted commercial real estate visit— an area that has come into greaterregulatory focus this year and in which the bank has long had a concentration.Gleason said the joint exam featured the FDIC and state regulators, as well as morenationally oriented specialists, and said all seemed to "clearly" understandthe bank's plans and expectations regarding its CRE portfolio.

He saidthe bank has internalized regulatory expectations that require greater monitoring,management and oversight of the portfolio, especially as it makes up a larger portionof the balance sheet and has continued to grow nationally. He added that the capital the bank raised in December 2015 and June2016 was a result of self-imposed, internal policies and that regulatorshave not implied that Ozarks' capital policies and practices were inadequate.

Whilethe Real Estate Specialties Group has driven lucrative growth in the CRE book, managementis also actively developing other lending lines acquired through deals, includingthe pending of and C1 Financial Inc.that are slated to close in July, to increase diversification. Gleason listed offgovernment-guaranteed lending, poultry lending, consumer and small business lending,and indirect marine and RV consumer lending as areas for further advancement. WhileCRE volumes are expected to grow, these business lines could grow even faster: By2018, the bank aims for CRE to make up about 57% of quarterly earning asset growthand non-CRE asset categories to make up the other 43%.

The bankannounced second-quarter net income available to common stockholders of $54.5 million,or 60 cents per share, up from $44.8 million, or 51 cents per share, a year ago.