July 18, 2018

Suffield, Holyoke lenders pose $60M merger

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
First National CEO Joseph Greco

The First National Bank of Suffield is merging with western Massachusetts lender PeoplesBancorp MHC, which is using the $60 million cash deal to cement its push into Connecticut's banking market.

Under the definitive pact set to close sometime later this year or early next, First National will retain its name, its four banking offices and its 48-person staff, and operate as a Connecticut division for PeoplesBancorp, parent of Holyoke-based PeoplesBank.

The transaction requires review and approval from bank overseers.

According to First National CEO Joseph Greco, PeoplesBancorp offered $12,001.85 cash -- or 202 percent of book value -- for each share in closely held parent First Suffield Financial Inc.

PeoplesBancorp has about $2. 4 billion in assets vs. First National's approximately $225 million in assets.

Greco said his 154-year-old bank, while profitable, has had difficulty keeping pace with tightened bank regulations in the wake of the 2008 near global financial meltdown and subsequent two-year Great Recession.

PeoplesBank, founded in 1885, has 18 branches.

"The addition of an existing, successful branch network in northern Connecticut to our strong presence in the Pioneer Valley will allow us to offer our products and services to a wider audience, while deepening our commitment to the region as a whole," PeoplesBank Chairman, CEO and President Tom Senecal said in a statement.

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