Magazine article American Banker

Bangor Savings' Deal Follows Plan in Southern Maine

Magazine article American Banker

Bangor Savings' Deal Follows Plan in Southern Maine

Article excerpt

Ending nearly a decade on the sidelines, Bangor Savings Bank in Maine is bulking up in the southern part of its home state.

The $2 billion-asset mutual thrift said Monday that it has agreed to buy Pepperell Bancshares Financial Group Inc. in Biddeford. Pepperell is the parent company of the $100 million-asset Pepperell Bank and Trust, which has five branches in York County.

One of Bangor Savings' 46 branches is in the county, and the Pepperell deal would give it the No. 9 market share in York, with 3.7% of its deposits, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

Yellow Light Breen, a senior vice president at Bangor Savings, said the thrift devised a strategic plan two years ago identifying York and Cumberland as the two counties where it most wanted to expand.

These two southernmost counties are more populous, have higher growth rates, and boast more economic activity than many other parts of the state, he said. Their proximity to major New England commercial hubs probably helps. Biddeford is less than a two-hour drive from Boston.

Mr. Breen said that Bangor Savings has "achieved a lot of success as a bank despite having virtually no presence in the southern third of the state." However. he added, it expects its expansion into the area to fuel faster growth by helping attract small- and midsize business customers.

The thrift opened a start-up branch in Cumberland County in January 2005, then added three more last quarter. Mr. Breen said all four branches are in or near Portland, Maine's largest city.

New branches, though, can take a while to become profitable, he said, and the Pepperell deal would help achieve growth in York County more quickly.

George Giovanis, the chairman and chief executive officer of the 100-year-old Pepperell, said that it had been looking to sell itself.

"We're small by today's standards, and we couldn't offer the full array of products and services that our customers really need," he said. …

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