One purchase, 24 more branches for U.S. Bank

U.S. Bancorp, the nation’s sixth largest financial institution and the state’s second largest bank, announced last week that it will acquire Vail Banks Inc., a move that will add 24 Colorado branch locations in 19 communities to its operations.

Vail Banks is the parent company for WestStar Banks, small community banks that dot the resort and bedroom communities around some of Colorado’s most popular ski and destination resorts.

“This will not only enable us to fill in our footprint in Colorado,” said U.S. Bank Vice President of Community Banking John Elmore, “It will also allow us to maintain the business relationships WestStar has had with these businesses and enable to offer them a larger array of products that a bank our size has.”

The additional branches will be a plus for U.S. Bank customers who frequent Colorado’s ski resorts, Elmore said.

“We’re in resort markets across the country, and we’ve been receiving requests for locations along the I-70 corridor for some time now,” Elmore said.

WestStar’s 24 locations are in Aspen, Avon, Breckenridge, Cedaredge, Delta, Denver, Dillon, Edwards, Estes Park, Frisco, Fruita, Glenwood Springs, Granby, Grand Junction, Gypsum, Montrose, Norwood, Telluride and Vail.

WestStar has assets of about $700 million, and $557 million in deposits.

Terms of the agreement include a cash purchase price of nearly $98.6 million or $17 for each Vail Banks share. The transaction is anticipated to be accretive to U.S. Bancorp earnings in 2007.

May’s DJIA blue-chip falls

The U.S. blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.40 percent last month to close at 11094.43.

Still, the index is up 3.52 percent so far in 2006.

In the United States, The Dow Jones utilities sector index posted the narrowest loss in May, down 1.15 percent, and the technology sector index posted the biggest loss with a 7.48 percent decrease.

In Europe, The Dow Jones retail sector index posted the narrowest loss, with a 2.2 percent drop. The European insurance sector index posted the biggest drop at 8.40 percent.

In Asia, the Dow Jones health care sector index posted the biggest gain, climbing 1.35 percent, and the technology sector index posted the biggest loss, dropping 6.44 percent.

Globally, the Dow Jones Titans Indexes food and beverage sector index posted the biggest gain at 0.35 percent, and the construction and materials sector index posted the biggest loss, dropping 6.60 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is the longest running U.S. stock market index and marked its 110th anniversary May 26.

UMB to buy Mountain States

UMB Financial Corp. announced last week that it will acquire Mountain States Bancorporation in an all-cash deal.

Upon regulatory approval, UMB will merge Mountain States Bank into UMB Bank Colorado.

Combined deposits in Colorado will be about $658 million.

Mountain States Bank has assets of $282 million and deposits of $241 million, with non-interest bearing deposits accounting for nearly 33 percent of total deposits.

UMB Financial Corp. operates 141 banking centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona.

IRS encouraging savings

With U.S. consumer savings levels looking ever more dismal, the Internal Revenue Service says it is doing its part to encourage a turnaround.

The IRS will create a program to allow taxpayers who use direct deposit to divide their refunds among up to three financial accounts.

Currently, taxpayers have two options for receiving their individual federal income tax refunds – a paper check or a direct deposit into a checking or savings account.

The IRS will create a new form, Form 8888, which will give taxpayers greater control of their refunds. Form 8888 will give taxpayers a choice of selecting one, two or three accounts such as checking, savings or retirement. Taxpayers who want their entire refund deposited directly into one account can still use the appropriate line on the Form 1040 series.

E-age prompts Fed changes

The prominence of electronic funds transfers is prompting the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to streamline its cash and check-processing services.

Cash operations at the Fed’s Omaha branch will transition to a third-party vendor that will operate a cash depot operation in Omaha, to be serviced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City after completion of the Kansas City headquarters building in 2008. The transition is expected to affect 16 employees.

Check-processing operations at the Kansas City office will be consolidated into the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. No firm date has been determined for the transition, but it’s expected to occur in 2007 or the first half of 2008. The consolidation is expected to affect 93 employees.

The Kansas City office will retain a check adjustment operation in its headquarters building, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s check-processing operations will be consolidated into its Los Angeles branch.

Rob Larimer covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.