Magazine article American Banker

Bucking Trend, Danvers IPO Gets Plenty of Interest

Magazine article American Banker

Bucking Trend, Danvers IPO Gets Plenty of Interest

Article excerpt

Don't tell Danvers Bancorp Inc. that demand for thrift stocks is weak these days.

In an otherwise sour market, the Massachusetts thrift company completed its mutual-to-stock conversion last week without having to go outside its depositor base to sell a single share. That its initial public offering was oversubscribed was surprising at a time when other thrift companies are struggling to sell a minimum number of shares - even after extending offerings to the general public. In recent weeks, several have had to postpone conversions because of lackluster demand.

"We are pleased to be the anomaly," said Kevin T. Bottomley, the chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Danvers and its Danversbank.

He attributed the conversion's success to the fact that Danvers, unlike many converting thrift companies, was not overcapitalized when it went public and could deploy the $171 million it raised quickly. It is common after a conversion for thrifts to have equity-to-assets ratios of 22% to 26%, but Mr. Bottomley said Danvers' ratio is closer to 15%.

Damon DelMonte, an analyst at KBW Inc.'s Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., said he is not surprised that Danvers' offering went well. Danvers has "a good loan mix and a good deposit mix," according to Mr. DelMonte, who does not follow the company but tracks conversions. Only 35% of its deposits are in certificates of deposit, and it has less exposure to residential real estate than other thrift companies, he said.

Mr. Bottomley said commercial and industrial loans make up the largest portion of Danvers' portfolio at 37%, while residential mortgages make up 20%. The rest consists of construction and commercial real estate loans.

"Our business model is clearly already that of a commercial bank, as opposed to the traditional thrift that is driven by residential mortgages," he said.

With the capital it raised, Danvers intends to add loans and branches, Mr. …

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