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10 Community Bank M&A Targets, Revisited

10. Guaranty Bancorp

Shares of Guaranty Bancorp (GBNK) of Denver, Colo. closed at $1.16 Wednesday, down 18% year-to-date.

The company is one of three community bank targets named in January by FBR analyst Brett Scheiner, who cited credit problems, while adding that Guaranty Bancorp's market footprint in Denver could be attractive to buyers.

Guaranty will hold a special meeting of stockholders on Sept. 29, to vote on a transaction agreement with holders of the company's series A convertible preferred shares, to app51,902,000 shares, as part of an acceleration of the preferred to common shares. The majority of the preferred is held by a group of private equity funds. Two of the fund managers involved with the conversion have agreed with the Federal Reserve to limit their common stock holdings 14.9% of outstanding common shares and 9.9% of voting shares, respectively, meaning that some of the newly issued common shares are likely to be nonvoting shares.

Following the appointment of former CFO and chief operating offer Paul Taylor to president and CEO in May, Guaranty in late July promoted senior vice president and controller Christopher Treece to CFO.

Guaranty Bancorp had $1.7 billion in total assets as of June 30 and reported second-quarter operating net income of $1.4 million. After paying $1.5 million in dividends on preferred shares, the second-quarter net loss to common stockholders was $109 thousand. In comparison, the net loss to common stockholders in the second quarter of 2010 was $5.7 million, or 11 cents a share.

The earnings improvement reflected a decline in the provision for loan losses to $1 million during the second quarter, from $8.4 million a year earlier.

Nonperforming assets totaled $72.2 million, or 4.13% of total assets, as of June 30, improving from 5.38% a year earlier. The annualized ratio of net charge-offs to average loans was 3.24% during the second quarter, which Taylor said reflected a "planned reduction in problem loans." Loan loss reserves covered 3.56% of total loans as of June 30.

Taylor said that Guaranty Bancorp achieved its "highest quarter of new loan bookings in several years" during the second quarter, with "$71.4 million of new loans with over 40 different businesses during the quarter as well as extending $22.8 million of credit on existing loans," adding that the bank's "pipeline of potential new loans continues to grow."

According to SNL Financial, Guaranty Bancorp's shares are trading for 0.7 times tangible book value. The company's tangible common equity ratio was 4.95% as of June 30, according to SNL, increasing from 4.42% at the end of the previous quarter. The company's regulatory total risk-based capital was a strong 16.22% as of June 30, increasing from 15.82% the previous quarter.

Scheiner says that "with the management change at the top, the bank is likely to continue to try and make a go of it independently. Whether or not the longer term thought process would be to sell, they will be best served by generating some reasonable level of pre-credit earnings," adding that "they wouldn't get much selling here."

Both analysts Covering Guaranty Bancorp have neutral ratings on the shares.

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