Western Financial Group Inc. and Bank West Announce Completion of Acquisition of AgriFinancial Canada Corp.



    
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    HIGH RIVER, AB, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - (TSX - WES) - Western Financial Group Inc.
and its subsidiary, Bank West, announced today the completion of the
acquisition of AgriFinancial Canada Corp. ("AgriFinancial") from C.A. Bancorp
Inc. (TSX-BKP) and Sentry Select Total Strategy Fund (TSX-TSF.UN).
AgriFinancial is a leading lender specializing in agribusinesses in Western
Canada, including more than 25,000 farmers who carry AgriFinancial's AgriCard
- a specialty credit card accepted by more than 750 dealers and merchants.
AgriFinancial is now an operating unit within Bank West.
    "We are very pleased to have completed the steps required to bring
together AgriFinancial and Bank West", said Scott Tannas, President and CEO of
Western Financial Group. "We are building on our already strong insurance
relationships with Western Canadian farmers. Bank West now has a valuable and
unique product offering targeted at one of our largest and most important
customer segments. It's a great strategic fit and we are excited about the
cross selling opportunities within our various business groups", he said.
    "AgriFinancial, with Bank West's secure source of funding, will continue
to expand its credit card business in the agribusiness sector, one of the few
industries that is remaining strong in current uncertain economic conditions.
We were looking to grow this line of business, and we were fortunate to find
and acquire a company which has a business model with a twenty plus year
record of success," said Bruce Ratzlaff, President of Bank West.
    The acquisition adds an additional $85 million in profitable loan assets
to Bank West's portfolio.
    Bank West is part of Western Financial Group, a leader in providing
insurance, financial services and banking services in over 90 communities, to
more than 450,000 individuals and businesses in Western Canada through its WFG
Agency Network locations, its affiliated insurance brokers, Western Life
Assurance Company and Bank West.
    The Common Shares of Western Financial Group are traded on the Toronto
Stock Exchange under the symbol "WES".





For further information:

For further information: Jodi Greig, Investor Relations Manager, Western
Financial Group, (403) 652-2663, info@westernfinancialgroup.net


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