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If there’s one place Happy State Bank Chairman and CEO J. Pat Hickman likes it’s the Hill Country of Texas, and he’s working to make it a happier place through a major banking acquisition. 

Happy State Bank announced this week that it will acquire Lubbock-based Centennial Bank, which has a branch in Kerrville and in other locations throughout the Hill Country. 

“We couldn’t ask for a better organization to partner with. Happy State Bank is a well-respected, like-minded financial institution with deep Texas roots,” said Centennial Bank Chairman J. David Williams. “As always we remain deeply committed to our customers and will continue to provide the superior, personalized service to which they have become accustomed. This business combination will help us better serve our communities with a wider trade area and expanded services while committing to staying highly involved in local, civic and nonprofit activities in each of our communities. I look forward to serving in my new role on the board of directors at Happy State Bank.” 

The two Kerrville offices will become a Happy State Bank branch in the coming months. Centennial held about $800 million in assets.

The move combines two of the state’s top 100 banks. For much of the last decade, Happy State Bank has been among the state’s top 30 largest banks, but with this move, the combined bank will have more than $4.4 billion in assets, making it one of the state’s largest and one with business in many rural areas across Texas. 

“This is a very big move,” Hickman said. “We have a lot of small-town folks who are customers.” 

The addition of Centennial adds branches in  Lubbock, Austin, Boerne, Fredericksburg, Hart, New Braunfels, Plainview, Post, Slaton and Tuli, in addition to Kerrville. There will be 57 branches in 41 communities. 

“We are excited as we expand our Panhandle and South Plains footprint and move into one of the fastest-growing regions in the state, the Texas Hill Country,” Hickman said. “Their corporate culture matches extremely well with ours. They have a great customer base and super-talented bankers.” 

Happy State’s culture is one of growth, but Hickman said it’s relationships that drives their business — even in the era of self-service and Internet banking. 

“The name gets them in the door, but this is about relationships,” Hickman said. 

Centennial’s Williams will join a board of directors of Happy State that also includes billionaire Drayton McLane. 

Centennial’s approximately $585 million in loans and $679 million in deposits will increase the bank’s total assets to approximately $4.4 billion. This transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020 pending bank regulatory and shareholder approval.

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