Magazine article American Banker

In Consolidation Turnabout, Two Florida Thrifts Are Acquiring Banks

Magazine article American Banker

In Consolidation Turnabout, Two Florida Thrifts Are Acquiring Banks

Article excerpt

Two Florida thrift institutions are turning the tables in the state's frenetic merger scene by acquiring banks to fortify their operations.

The $205 million-asset Republic Savings Bank of Palm Beach Gardens expects to close an agreement to acquire Governors Bank, a three-branch commercial bank in West Palm Beach, in November.

The deal will come just months after the $601 millionasset First Federal Bancorp of New Smyrna, a holding company based 20 miles south of Daytona Beach, purchased Key Bank of Florida, a Tampa-based commercial bank.

'This is like the man biting the dog," said Samuel Beebe, vice president of the Robert W. Baird & Co. brokerage firm. "This is definitely the exception rather than the rule."

Republic is in the midst of applying for approval by the Office of Thrift Supervision and will go to Governors' shareholders on Oct. 7, said Republic's chief executive Rudy Schupp.

"They are a pure commercial bank, which is why we're interested," said Mr. Schupp. "Their commercial loan portfolio will get us where we want to be quickly. I guess we're a little bit of a rebel in doing this."

Governors, an $80 million asset bank, brings three branches in the West Palm Beach area to Republic's five. Mr. Schupp described Republic as a "hybrid" institution, with its combination of commercial and consumer lending, and mortgage banking services.

If the deal is approved, Republic would acquire both the bank and its holding company, Governors Bank Corp. The latter would be dissolved, and Governors would become a subsidiary of Republic. …

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