A hometown bank with roots tracing back more than 30 years was acquired
this week, giving a New Mexico bank a stronger foothold in the Boulder
Broomfield-based Front Range Capital Corp., which has about $450
million in assets as the owner of the 13-branch Heritage Bank, said the
parent of First Community Bank plans to buy it for $72 million in
As a result of the deal, gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and
his wife, Claudia, could gross more than $16.5 million. The couple owns
about 23 percent of Front Range Capital, according to regulatory
The acquisition would give First Community Bank, a subsidiary of
Albuquerque-based First State Bancorp., about 43,000 customer accounts
between 20 Colorado locations, 11 of which are in Boulder and
Broomfield counties. Prior to the agreement, First Community Bank
which operates 49 branch offices in New Mexico, Utah and Arizona
had one Longmont location.
The growth of First Community Bank, which classifies itself as a
community bank focused on small- to medium-sized firms, has come from
taking market share from larger banks, said H. Patrick Dee, president
of First Community Bank. Because of that, Heritage Bank's Boulder-area
branches were attractive, he said.
Heritage Bank "is a great franchise in that part of the state that
has some outstanding long-term growth possibilities," he said, noting
plans to add cash management and electronic banking technologies to the
Heritage Bank's history goes back more than 30 years, to 1973, with
the opening of Lafayette First Industrial Bank. Front Range Capital
Corp. purchased the industrial bank in 1985, later converting it to a
commercial bank. In 1990, the Beauprezes purchased the bank, then
called Bank VII, renamed it Lafayette State Bank, and opened additional
branches in Boulder County. It became Heritage Bank in 1998.
Claudia Beauprez remains a director of Front Range Capital. Bob
Beauprez does not.
The deal "is not a political consideration for us," said John
Marshall, Beauprez's campaign spokesman.
The deal is expected to close in early 2007, months after the fall
political campaign concludes. Governors, Marshall said, have an ethical
obligation to remove themselves from any kind of perceived position
that would be a conflict of interest.
"Bob Beauprez has now done that," Marshall said.
After expanding to 13 locations, Heritage's board felt it was a good
time to consider a strategic alliance, said Bill Mitchell, Heritage
Bank's chief executive officer.
"We wanted to be in a position to allow us to continue on our growth
pattern and facilitate our growth that we wouldn't be able to do so on
our own," Mitchell said.
It is unclear how or if Heritage's 165 employees will
be affected by the deal, Mitchell said.
"I know they have a real need for good people; they want to keep
good people and we have good people," he said.
Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at (303) 473-1332