Lawyer and businessman Jason Awad of Las Vegas said that he received approval Tuesday from federal and state regulators to acquire 1st Commerce Bank of North Las Vegas.
He expects to take over operations March 15 after Capitol Bancorp, a holding company based in Lansing, Mich., meets all terms and conditions of the agreement.
“We are ready to proceed,” Awad said.
Nevada Bankers Association Chief Executive Officer William Uffelman said, “I’m glad that this acquisition is moving forward.”
Community banks in Southern Nevada have struggled in the past few years as values for real estate, including real estate used as collateral for commercial loans, plunged.
Several institutions have failed in recent years.
By acquiring 1st Commerce Bank, Awad saves one of Southern Nevada’s weakest financial institutions from possible closure.
The bank reported $40 million in assets at the end of the year, financial research firm SNL Financial reported. It lost $320,000 in the fourth quarter, down from a loss of $1.8 million a year earlier. The bank’s risk-based capital, a measure of net worth, was growing thin at 5.2 percent of total assets. Its nonperforming assets, including past-due loans, are high at 16 percent of assets.
Awad, who will fully own the bank, is expected to boost 1st Commerce’s capital.
1st Commerce was among five banks established that Capitol Bancorp established in Southern Nevada in recent years. The company now known as Western Liberty Bancorp made an offer to buy 1st Commerce but the deal was terminated and Western Liberty bought out Service1st Bank instead.
1st Commerce was among five community banks that Capitol Bancorp established in Southern Nevada in recent years. The other four were merged into Bank of Las Vegas.