Western Financial Group Inc. and Bank West Announce Completion of Acquisition of AgriFinancial
High River, Alberta – February 2, 2009 (TSX – WES) -Western Financial Group Inc. and its subsidiary, Bank West, announced today the completion of the acquisition of AgriFinancial Canada Corp. (“AgriFinancial”) from C.A. Bancorp Inc. (TSX-BKP) and Sentry Select Total Strategy Fund (TSX-TSF.UN). AgriFinancial is a leading lender specializing in agribusinesses in Western Canada, including more than 25,000 farmers who carry AgriFinancial’s AgriCard – a specialty credit card accepted by more than 750 dealers and merchants. AgriFinancial is now an operating unit within Bank West.
“We are very pleased to have completed the steps required to bring together AgriFinancial and Bank West”, said Scott Tannas, President and CEO of Western Financial Group. “We are building on our already strong insurance relationships with Western Canadian farmers. Bank West now has a valuable and unique product offering targeted at one of our largest and most important customer segments. It’s a great strategic fit and we are excited about the cross selling opportunities within our various business groups”, he said.
“AgriFinancial, with Bank West’s secure source of funding, will continue to expand its credit card business in the agribusiness sector, one of the few industries that is remaining strong in current uncertain economic conditions. We were looking to grow this line of business, and we were fortunate to find and acquire a company which has a business model with a twenty plus year record of success,” said Bruce Ratzlaff, President of Bank West.
The acquisition adds an additional $85 million in profitable loan assets to Bank West’s portfolio.
Bank West is part of Western Financial Group, a leader in providing insurance, financial services and banking services in over 90 communities, to more than 450,000 individuals and businesses in Western Canada through its WFG Agency Network locations, its affiliated insurance brokers, Western Life Assurance Company and Bank West.
The Common Shares of Western Financial Group are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “WES”.
This press release is not for distribution to any United States news service or otherwise in the United States.
For further information, please contact:
Jodi Greig, Investor Relations Manager
Western Financial Group