Vol. XXIX No. 8

Bank Notes

August 2000 August 2000

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August 1, 2000

FleetBoston Branch Sales

On July 22, Sovereign Bank, Wyomissing, PA, purchased 109 branches from Fleet National Bank, Providence, RI. The branch locations are in central Massachusetts (96) and New Hampshire (13). The transfer is the third and final phase of Sovereign's acquisition of 279 branches from Fleet in a deal originally announced in September. On March 25, Sovereign Bank acquired 90 branches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. On June 17, Sovereign Bank acquired 80 branches in eastern Massachusetts, and two branches in Rhode Island. As of June 30, 1999, Fleet Financial Group, Boston, MA, had total deposits of $42.2 billion and ranked first among all commercial banking and thrift institutions in New England. As of the same date, BankBoston Corporation, Boston, MA, had total deposits of $34.6 billion and ranked second. On July 22, Enterprise Bank & Trust Company, Lowell, MA, purchased two branches from Fleet National Bank, Providence, RI. The branches are located in Billerica and Chelmsford, MA. As of June 30, 1999, Enterprise Bancorp, Inc., Lowell, MA, parent company of Enterprise Bank & Trust Company, had total deposits of $328.1 million and ranked 50th among all commercial banking and thrift institutions in Massachusetts. (Internal Notice, 6/19; 7/24; SNL Weekly BankFax, 6/19; 7/24/00)

On July 1, Peoples Bank of Littleton, Littleton, NH, merged with Connecticut River Bank, National Association, Springfield, VT, under the charter and title of Connecticut River Bank, National Association. As of June 30, 1999, Connecticut River Bancorp, Charlestown, NH, the parent company of both institutions, had total deposits of $53.2 million and ranked 35th among all commercial banking and thrift institutions in New Hampshire. As of the same date, Connecticut River Bancorp had total deposits of $88.6 million and ranked 16th among all commercial banking and thrift institutions in Vermont. On July 3, Andover Bancorp, Inc., Andover, MA, completed its acquisition of GBT Bancorp, Gloucester, MA. As of June 30, 1999, Andover Bancorp, Inc. had total deposits of $906.3 million and ranked 14th among all commercial banking and thrift institutions in Massachusetts. As of the same date, GBT Bancorp had total deposits of $96.3 million and ranked 146th. (Internal Notice, 7/3; SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/10/00)

On July 5, Talbots Classics National Bank, Lincoln, RI, a nationally chartered, limited credit card bank, opened for business. On July 6, @Bank, Framingham, MA, a federally chartered, Internet savings bank, opened for business. (Internal Notice, 7/6/00)

On July 17, Superior Savings of New England, Branford, CT, a state-chartered savings bank, changed its charter to that of a nationally chartered bank. The new title is Superior Savings of New England, National Association. The institution is a subsidiary of North Fork Bancorporation, Melville, NY. (Internal Notice, 7/18/00)

On July 21, Seacoast Financial Services Corp., New Bedford, MA, signed a definitive agreement to acquire Home Port Bancorp, Nantucket, MA. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to be completed by the end of this year. As of June 30, 1999, Seacoast Financial Services Corp. had total deposits of $1.6 billion and ranked tenth among all commercial banking and thrift institutions in Massachusetts. As of the same date, Home Port Bancorp had total deposits of $212.3 million and ranked 82nd. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/24/00)

On July 6, Dime Bancorp, Inc., New York, NY, reached an agreement with Warburg Pincus Equity Partners LP, a global private equity investing firm, under which Warburg Pincus will acquire 13.6 million shares, or 12.5% of the thrift's common stock, and an equivalent number of seven-year warrants, in return for an aggregate investment of $238 million. The agreement follows Dime's May announcement that it would undertake a "review of strategic alternatives" in response to the hostile takeover bid by North Fork Bancorporation, Melville, NY. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/10/00)

On July 13, Jay Sidhu, the president and CEO of Sovereign Bancorp, Inc., Wyomissing, PA, parent company of Sovereign Bank, Wyomissing, PA, announced that the level of customer retention for the first two FleetBoston branch conversions is 98 percent, a figure higher than Sovereign Bancorp's previously communicated internal estimate. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/17/00)

On June 26, the pending merger of equals between thrifts Cohoes Bancorp Inc., Cohoes, NY, and Hudson River Bancshares, Hudson, NY, originally announced on April 25, was threatened by the disclosure that other area institutions have made unsolicited bids for each of the involved thrifts. Cohoes and Hudson disclosed in filings with the SEC and in news releases that TrustCo Bank Corp of NY, Schenectady, NY, made bids for each thrift, while Ambanc Holding Co., Amsterdam, NY, submitted a separate bid for Cohoes. The situation is reminiscent of the current hostile bid by North Fork Bancorporation, Melville, NY, for Dime Bancorp, Inc., New York, NY. North Fork's bid for Dime contributed to the cancellation of the planned merger of equals between Dime and Hudson United Bancorp, Mahwah, NJ, approved by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors (Fed) on April 12. On April 28, Hudson United and Dime separately announced the cancellation, and Dime called North Fork's offer an "initial triggering event." (SNL Weekly BankFax, 5/30; 7/3/00)

On July 10, First Niagara Financial Group, Lockport, NY, completed its acquisition of CNY Financial Corp., Cortland, NY. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/17/00)

On July 19, Sound Federal Bancorp, Mamaroneck, NY, completed its acquisition of Peekskill Financial Corp., Peekskill, NY. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/24/00)

On July 10, M&T Bank Corp., Buffalo, NY, signed a definitive agreement to acquire Premier National Bancorp Inc., Lagrangeville, NY, in a purchase transaction. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2001. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/17/00)

On July 6, Chase Manhattan Corp., New York, NY, completed its acquisition of Beacon Group LLC, a privately held investment firm. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/10/00)

On July 6, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc., Des Moines, IA, a unit of Wells Fargo & Co., San Francisco, CA, acquired the servicing rights on $7.5 billion of home loans from Fleet Mortgage Group, Inc., Columbia, SC, a unit of FleetBoston Financial Group, Boston, MA, for an undisclosed amount. Wells Fargo said in a release that the deal included servicing on 69,000 loans, of which 42,000 are secured by homes in California. As of March 31, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc.'s servicing portfolio volume was the industry's third-largest at $284 million. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/10/00)

On July 3, ING Groep NV received OTS approval to establish ING Bank, a de novo federal thrift. ING Bank will have no branches, but rather will conduct business primarily through a call center, direct mail, and a transactional web site. The thrift will be based in Wilmington, DE, and will operate marketing offices in Wilmington and New York, NY. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/10/00)

On July 6, the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) released results of a new study, which found that banks offering Internet services typically are more profitable than banks that do not offer transactional services on the Web. According to the study, that difference more likely is due to other shared characteristics of banks offering Internet services, rather than the direct effect of Internet banking itself. Not surprisingly, the study also found that large banks were much more likely to offer Internet banking than small banks. All national banks with more than $10 billion in assets offered Internet banking, while just 7% of those with less than $100 million in assets offered the service. The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the OCC's quarterly journal. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/10/00)

On July 17, the Fed released a long-awaited report that found Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) loans to be nearly as profitable as normal loans, yet lower-performing,. The Fed estimated that the survey represented around 40% to 55% of all CRA lending, representing 143 banking institutions, including 114 banks and 29 thrifts. For home-purchase and refinancing loans, and for small-business loans, the survey found that the percentages of reporting banks with profitable CRA-related loans were very high, and close to the percentages of reporting banks that found their overall loans profitable. However, CRA loans did not generally perform as well as overall loans. While the Fed said that "many institutions report no difference in performance" between CRA home-purchase loans and normal home-purchase loans, when there is a difference in performance, CRA loans tend to perform worse than normal ones. About half of the respondents said their CRA loans have higher rates of delinquency than normal loans. (SNL Weekly BankFax, 7/24/00)

Items in Bank Notes focused on developments affecting banking structure in New England. They were condensed from daily newspapers and press releases from federal and state financial regulatory agencies. Their reproduction does not imply our endorsement of the accuracy, opinions or policies reflected in the subject matter.Items in Bank Notes focused on developments affecting banking structure in New England. They were condensed from daily newspapers and press releases from federal and state financial regulatory agencies. Their reproduction does not imply our endorsement of the accuracy, opinions or policies reflected in the subject matter.