WaFd Bank, Luther Burbank shareholders approve proposed acquisition

WaFd Bank is acquiring an 11-branch bank chain. The acquisition was first announced in November and is expected to close this quarter.

WaFd Bank, Luther Burbank shareholders approve proposed acquisition

Washington Federal Inc., based in Seattle (Nasdaq : WAFD), has taken a step towards its $654 million proposed acquisition of Luther Burbank Corp., based in Santa Rosa (Nasdaq : LBC) from California.

Washington Federal Bank and its subsidiary WaFd Bank released a statement on Friday stating that shareholders of both banks had approved the acquisition. WaFd's spokesperson stated that the banks do not have any updates on the closing date of the acquisition, since it still requires regulatory approval.

WaFd CEO Brent Beardall stated in a press release that "These voting results confirm our belief that combining Washington Federal with Luther Burbank creates significant opportunities to enhance our banking experience for customers and drive greater long-term value for shareholders."

The deal was announced in November, and it was expected to be completed this quarter. Beardall stated in November that the acquisition would give WaFd an entry into California, allowing it to expand beyond its eight-state footprint. WaFd also cited Luther Burbank as a company with high asset quality and efficiency. Luther Burbank has approximately 300 employees, most of whom will join WaFd. This includes all client-facing positions, however, some C-suite staffers are retiring and others won't be joining WaFd.

WaFd was founded in 1917 and offers services for personal, business, and commercial banking. Assets totaled $22.3 billion at the end March. According to Business Journal's research, it has the ninth largest market share in Washington with 3.1%. The ratings agency Moody's Investors Service downgraded WaFd in April.

Luther Burbank Savings was founded by Luther Burbank in 1983. The bank operates 10 branches in California, and one in Bellevue. Assets totaled $8.3 billion at the end March. Beardall stated that WaFd does not expect to sell or close any branches as a result of the acquisition. Once the deal is closed, Luther Burbank branches will be rebranded to WaFd.