First Scottsdale Bank and Commerce Bank of Arizona, Inc.’s parent company, CBOA Financial, Inc., have announced an agreement to merge as part of an $8.6 million transaction.  With over $300 million in assets and eight branches stretching from Scottsdale to Tucson, the combined company will be the second largest community bank franchise headquartered in Arizona.  As part of the transaction, the combined company will undertake a $10 million common equity offering.

The combined bank will operate under the Commerce Bank name.

“We are very optimistic about the long-term growth prospects for the Tucson market, and this transaction leaves us poised to capitalize on robust economic growth in the two largest markets in Arizona,” said Rich Vogel, chairman and CEO of First Scottsdale Bank.  Vogel added, “Our combined organizations are in a very strong capital position and we will be aggressively lending to creditworthy customers in both Phoenix and Tucson.”

John P. Lewis will come out of retirement to serve as president of the bank’s Tucson Operations.  Lewis is not to be confused with John S. Lewis, who became president and CEO of Commerce Bank of Arizona in May 2012.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2013, subject to customary regulatory and shareholder approvals.

First Scottsdale was recently recognized by MSN as the only bank in Arizona, and one of only 359 of more than 7,300 banks nationwide, with a perfect score in a measure of bank safety.

“This significant achievement during a period of aggressive growth of our organization is a direct reflection of the leadership and the culture created by our president, Chris Webster,” said Vogel.

The new Commerce Bank of Arizona offers a complete line of business and consumer banking services, including a variety of commercial, real estate and mortgage loan products. With offices in Scottsdale, Mesa, Tucson, Green Valley and Tubac, the bank specializes in customized financial services to small business owners, professionals, nonprofit organizations and individuals. For more information, call (480) 998-8408.