"Their culture and style is incredibly similar to ours," he said, adding that Valley Bank is well managed and has taken a conservative approach to business which has helped them avoid the credit issues that plagued so many lenders during the recession.
"They weathered the storm pretty well," Vance said.
Heritage Financial Corp. this week announced a "definitive deal" to acquire the bank-holding company Valley Community Bancshares Inc. and its subsidiary Valley Bank in a cash-and-stock deal worth $44.2 million. Valley Bank was formed in 1972 and has grown to more than $200 million in assets. It also has nine branches and about 65 employees.
The deal is expected to close early in the third quarter, Vance said. Both boards have approved the deal and it now awaits regulatory and shareholder approval.
Once the deal closes, it gets Heritage into east Pierce County, a "market we've always wanted to be in," he said. Valley Bank also offers a similar book of business, lending to small businesses and medical professionals, and the acquisition will grow Heritage's deposit market share in Pierce County by 40 percent, Vance said.
The combined company will have about $1.6 billion in assets.
Vance, however, said there is some bank branch overlap with Heritage and that the company expects to consolidate four of Valley Bank's nine branches.
Valley Chief Executive David Brown has been nominated to serve on Heritage's board. He also will assist with the transition, with plans to retire after a "successful integration."
This is Heritage's fourth bank acquisition since 2010, beginning with Cowlitz Bank in the Longview area, followed by Pierce Commercial Bank of Tacoma, Northwest Commercial Bank of Lakewood and now Valley Bank. And the company is not done, Vance said.
"We still have capital for growth," he said.
Heritage's stock, which trades under the ticker symbol HFWA, got a boost from news of the deal, closing at $14.60 a share Thursday, up 76 cents since Tuesday's announcement.