Allegiance Bancshares executives long saw Independence Bank as a potential acquisition target, but what finally prompted the two Houston lenders to pair up?

"It is very simple: now is when they said yes," says George Martinez (pictured), the chief executive of the $825 million-asset Allegiance,which agreed last week to buy its smaller rival. "We've been talking to them for a while, and this year it was the right time for them to consider it."

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