Fremont Bank Corporation and Wells Fargo Announce Definitive Agreement
CANON CITY and PUEBLO, Colo. — December 5, 2005
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) and Fremont Bank Corporation announced today they have signed a definitive agreement for Wells Fargo to acquire Fremont Bank Corporation’s banking operations in Canon City, Colo., and Pueblo, Colo. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Fremont Bank Corporation, a privately held bank holding company, owns Fremont National Bank of Canon City and Centennial Bank of Pueblo, which have combined assets of $167 million as of Aug. 31, 2005. Fremont National Bank has four locations – two in Canon City and one each in Penrose and Westcliffe. Centennial Bank has two locations in Pueblo. Wells Fargo has three banking stores in Pueblo and a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage store in Canon City. Approximately 90 employees are at the Fremont and Centennial locations. "Wells Fargo has had a strong relationship with our organization for more than a decade,” said Darryn W. Biggerstaff, personal representative of The Estate of Darryl W. Biggerstaff, majority shareholder of Fremont Bank Corporation. “Wells Fargo is committed to the communities they serve as well as to their people. This philosophy directly parallels that of Fremont and Centennial Bank and is therefore a natural and logical partnership. All parties involved have been waiting for the timing to be right. That time is upon us.“We want to join with Wells Fargo because they share our community banking philosophy,” said Bill Betts, president of Fremont National Bank. “It starts with local management and local decision-making by people who live and work in the community.” “This partnership is good for our customers and good for our employees,” said Harvey Hoff, president of Centennial Bank. “Our employees will have significant opportunities for growth and our customers will have access to an expanded product line delivered to them when, where and how they want.” “Centennial Bank and Fremont National Bank will help us grow and strengthen our distribution network in Pueblo and the Canon City area,” said Gene Sullivan, Wells Fargo’s regional president in Southern Colorado. “The teams from both of these fine banks have a great reputation that they’ve earned by serving their customers well. We look forward to them joining Wells Fargo.” “This acquisition represents a natural expansion of our footprint in southern Colorado,” said Don Sall, regional president for Wells Fargo in Greater Colorado. “We have had an interest in the Canon City market for a number of years and we’re thrilled to agree to acquire the market leader in Fremont Bank. Canon City is a vibrant, stable market whose economy is anchored by 13 state and federal correctional facilities. The Centennial Bank acquisition in Pueblo broadens our distribution in the southeastern part of the community and will propel us to the top bank market share position. Along with our long-term strong position in Colorado Springs, this acquisition further defines us as the premier financial services provider in southern Colorado.” The companies expect to complete the acquisition in 2006, pending approval from banking regulators and Fremont Bank Corporation shareholders. Centennial Bank and Fremont National Bank would convert to Wells Fargo’s computer systems and combine with Wells Fargo late in 2006 after completion of the acquisition. In addition to Betts and Hoff, members of Centennial Bank’s and Fremont National Bank’s senior management teams comprised of Anthony Andenucio, Mike Cowperthwaite, Roy Gillmore, and Terry Speakes will join Wells Fargo. In Colorado, Wells Fargo has approximately 6,000 team members and more than 185 financial services stores in 55 communities. Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $453 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance to more than 23 million customers from more than 6,200 stores and the Internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only bank in the United States to receive the highest possible credit rating, “Aaa,” from Moody’s Investors Service.