December 12, 2018

CT's SIFI, Berkshire Bank merging

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
Berkshire CEO Richard M. Marotta.

Windham lender Savings Institute Bank & Trust Co. is merging with Massachusetts regional lender Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. in a $180 million all-stock deal that gives momentum to Connecticut's ongoing community-bank consolidation.

Parent SI Financial Group Inc. (SIFI), based in Windham's Willimantic section, and Boston-based Berkshire Hills, owner of Berkshire Bank-Connecticut Region in Hartford, announced late Tuesday their proposed combination that would create a $13.6 billion-asset institution. SIFI has $1.6 billion in assets.

If bank regulators in both states and federal deposit-insurance and bank-holding company overseers approve, Berkshire would double its eastern Connecticut branch network to 18 offices, with five more branches in Rhode Island.

"We're pleased to welcome Savings Institute's customers and employees to the Berkshire family," said Berkshire CEO Richard M. Marotta. "This transaction is a natural fit and brings with it a stable, longstanding deposit base with leading market position. The Savings Institute franchise strengthens our Northeast presence, as we gain scale in Connecticut and enter into attractive Rhode Island markets.''

SIFI CEO and President Rheo A. Brouillard said the merger "will provide greater convenience and a broader array of products to our customers who will continue to have the personalized service they have come to expect."

In October, former Farmington Valley community lender Farmington Bank merged with Bridgeport super-regional lender People's United Bank in a $544 million stock deal.

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