Service1st Bank of Nevada acquired by New York firm

The New York investment company led by former gaming analyst Jason Ader on Wednesday announced plans to acquire Service1st Bank, a $200 million asset, privately held Las Vegas bank in a stock transaction.

The company, Global Consumer Acquisition Corp., signed a letter of intent to buy Service1st for the value of the bank as reflected on its accounting books after adjustments.

In addition, shareholders would have an opportunity to receive an additional sum two years later if stock for the new bank holding company, Western Liberty Bancorp, exceeds $12.75 for 30 consecutive trading days.

William Martin, chief executive officer and vice chairman of Service1st, would become CEO of the bank’s new holding company. Martin also would continue as CEO of Service1st.

John Gaynor, president and chief operating officer at Service1st, would become president of Western Liberty and continue in his present position at Service1st.

“The big news here is Bill and John,” said Ader, adding that he is excited and honored they agreed to join his company.

Martin may be the best-known banker in Nevada. Martin previously was chief executive of Nevada State Bank and he often appeared in commercials for the bank.

Martin also was executive vice president for eight years at Salt Lake City-based Zions Bancorporation, the regional bank holding company and parent of Nevada State.

Gaynor was the founding CEO of Bank of Nevada and previously of Commercial Bank, which were acquired.

Ader, chairman of Western Liberty, said the company still intends to acquire 1st Commerce Bank of North Las Vegas from Capitol Bancorp.

He said talks continue with BB&T Corp., which is taking bids for the Nevada deposits and assets of Colonial Bank.

Global Consumer agreed to buy the Nevada operations from Colonial Bancorp of Montgomery, Ala., in July, but regulators seized Colonial in August and sold the deposits and assets to BB&T.

Analysts believe the former Colonial branches lost a substantial amount of its deposits after the bank was seized although BB&T has continued to operate Nevada branches.

Western Liberty would have about $550 million in assets in Nevada if it does not buy the former Colonial operations here.

The new bank holding company would seek to acquire other community banks and deposits and assets from failed banks.Western Liberty is interested in acquiring some of failed Community Bank’s assets from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., according to a source.

“The acquisition of Service1st Bank would be a model transaction for us, and we look forward to pursuing this together with the many similar opportunities that we expect to become available in the Nevada marketplace,” Ader said in a statement.

Service1st shareholders could receive an additional 20 percent of book value under the agreement if its stock price meets the $12.75 a share threshold for more than 30 days after two years.

Contact reporter John G. Edwards at or 702-383-0420.

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