Magazine article American Banker

Thrift Founded in 19thcentury Freshens Brand

Magazine article American Banker

Thrift Founded in 19thcentury Freshens Brand

Article excerpt

Youthful enthusiasm and fresh ideas.

That's what a 138-year-old Massachusetts thrift that just completed its first acquisition hopes to convey with its new name, Avidia Bank.

The name change followed Westborough Bank's sale in August to Hudson Savings Bank and its parent company, Assabet Valley Bancorp, a transaction that created one of the state's largest thrifts, with $1 billion of assets.

The Avidia signs went up in late October when the two thrifts converted to the same system and began operating as one bank.

Mark O'Connell, Avidia's president and chief executive, said the name combines the words avid and idea.

"I think it's distinctive from the old traditional name of a town with the word bank at the end of it," he said. "It's a little bit more creative, and it's a little bit more attractive to the younger customer."

He acknowledged, however, that older customers in particular would have preferred that the bank keep the Hudson name.

Assabet Valley agreed to rename its thrift subsidiary as a condition of its $20.6 million deal for the $300 million-asset Westborough, which was announced in November 2006. Both Hudson and Westborough were founded in 1869.

The deal was not without controversy. Some Westborough shareholders felt the price was too low and in July filed an injunction to block the deal. A judge denied the injunction and the sale closed Aug. 26.

Months earlier, another Westborough shareholder unhappy with the sale price made a bid of his own that was about $4 million more than Assabet had offered, but Westborough's board rejected it. …

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