Beauprez-controlled bank to be sold for $72 million

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— Directors of a bank in which GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez owns a controlling interest have agreed to sell the company to a New Mexico bank for $72 million.

Albuquerque, N.M.-based First Community Bank, a subsidiary of First State Bancorporation, said Monday it has agreed to acquire Heritage Bank in a deal expected to close next year.

Beauprez, who is retiring after two terms in Congress to run for governor, is not a director of Front Range Capital Corp., a holding company for Heritage Bank's 13 branches, but his wife, Claudia, is.

"There were zero political considerations here," said John Marshall, Beauprez's campaign manager.

The Beauprez family holds 23 percent of the bank's shares, said Bill Mitchell, Heritage's president and chief executive officer.

First State Bancorporation's acquisition of Front Range Capital Corp., will allow the new company to handle bigger loans and grow faster, Mitchell said.

Heritage Banks would become First Community Banks if regulators approve the deal, Mitchell said.

Front Range Capital grew from a single troubled bank Beauprez bought in 1990.

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