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SLO’s Coast Bancorp is now part of Sierra Bancorp of Porterville

Anita Robinson, former president and CEO of Coast Bancorp, is now Sierra Bank’s regional market president for the coastal division.
Anita Robinson, former president and CEO of Coast Bancorp, is now Sierra Bank’s regional market president for the coastal division.

It’s now official: Coast Bancorp of San Luis Obispo County has been acquired by Sierra Bancorp of Porterville, which operates the largest independent bank based in the south San Joaquin Valley.

The bank’s name at the three branches in Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo was changed last weekend to Bank of the Sierra, and the loan production office in Atascadero will become a full-service branch July 25.

The acquisition was first announced in early January, pending approval by state and federal regulators and stockholders. That has now occurred, and Coast Bancorp has been merged into Bank of the Sierra.

The final deal was valued at about $13.5 million.

Under the agreement, Coast Bancorp stockholders received about 76 percent of the purchase price in Bank of Sierra stock and the rest in cash, said Matt Hessler, Sierra’s senior vice president and director of marketing.

Coast Bancorp was considerably smaller than Sierra Bancorp, with about $148 million in assets compared with Sierra’s approximately $1.85 billion in assets. The acquisition increased Sierra’s total assets to about $2 billion.

Sierra Bancorp said in January that it planned to retain most of the 35 Coast Bancorp employees, including President and CEO Anita Robinson. She is now Sierra’s regional market president for the coastal division. Sierra declined Thursday to say how many other employees are being retained.

“As a community bank, our employees are like family, so it is our intention to retain as many employees as possible,” said Hessler, the senior vice president and director of marketing.

Sierra Bancorp, traded on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol BSRR, specializes in agricultural lending. It has 35 locations — 34 branch offices, including the four in San Luis Obispo County and one under construction in Bakersfield, plus one loan production office. It plans to use the Coast acquisition to expand up and down the Central Coast.

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