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SAN ANTONIO-Sterling Bancshares Inc., based in Houston, is making plans to pay $51.8 million in cash for CaminoReal Bancshares of Texas Inc., headquartered in San Antonio.

The Houston banking entity, marking its first entry into San Antonio, has signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition for the privately held CaminoReal Bancshares, the holding company of CaminoReal Bank, National Association. There are four offices in San Antonio plus operations in Eagle Pass, Carrizo Springs, Crystal City and Pearsall. Sterling Bancshares has $2 billion in total assets and operates 23 offices in the Houston area.

As of Sept. 30, CaminoReal Bancshares had total assets of $291 million, $149 million in loans, $256 million in deposits and $24.7 million in pro forma shareholders’ equity. Sterling is anticipating a $600,000 pre-tax special charge in connection with the merger.

Buyout terms calls for CaminoReal shareholders to receive $776.18 in cash for each share of stock, based upon 61,188 outstanding shares of common stock. CaminoReal’s warrantholder will receive $4.3 million when the takeover is finalized in first quarter 2001. CaminoReal operational integration is expected to begin in the new year’s second quarter.

“By adding our financial resources, technological and operational capabilities, and support services to the customers, employees and management of CaminoReal, we are confident that Sterling will successfully capitalize on the strong growth opportunities that exist in San Antonio,” says J. Downey Bridgwater, Sterling’s president. He says the acquired bank’s management team and bankers will be reviewed to determine their fit into Sterling’s growth strategy for San Antonio and South Texas.

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