Regions to buy equipment finance firm Ascentium

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Regions Financial in Birmingham, Ala., is buying a Texas-based equipment finance firm as part of a broader effort to expand its small-business offerings.

The $126 billion-asset Regions said Thursday that it has agreed to acquire Ascentium Capital in Kingswood, Texas, from the global private equity firm Warburg Pincus. The bank did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter.

Ascentium has 460 employees, all of whom will join Regions when the deal closes, and partners with almost 4,000 manufacturers, dealers and distributors to finance equipment for small-business customers.

Ascentium, founded in 2011 by Tom Depping, a former community banker, had approximately $2 billion in loans and leases at the end of 2019 and made $1.5 billion in originations that year.

“We are pleased to join Regions, a firm known for its commitment to the customer experience and a long history of providing comprehensive banking solutions to companies of all sizes,” Depping, Ascentium's CEO, said in a news release. “This combination will enable us to expand our reach and relevance in serving our vendors and small-business customers while continuing to provide seamless service.”

Ronnie Smith, the head of Regions’ corporate banking group, said in the release that the addition of Ascentium "provides a meaningful opportunity to attract new customers and deepen relationships across our combined customer base."

Regions has generally ruled out whole-bank M&A in the past few years, instead favoring smaller nonbank deals that could boost fee income. Last year, for example, the bank bought a health care asset management firm headquartered in Birmingham. Company executives have identified equipment finance as an area of interest, alongside wealth management and mortgage servicing.

Regions said the addition of Ascentium would complement its existing equipment financing business.

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