Magazine article American Banker

$210 Million Coup for North Fork in N.Y. Market Wars

Magazine article American Banker

$210 Million Coup for North Fork in N.Y. Market Wars

Article excerpt

Muscling its way to prominence in the crowded New York-area market, North Fork Bancorp has agreed to buy North Side Savings Bank for $210 million in stock.

The deal, announced Monday, follows a series of acquisitions by the Mattituck, N.Y.-based company. It would boost North Fork's assets by $1.7 billion, or 41%, and move it to No. 7 from No. 10 in deposits in the key market of Long Island and Queens.

The deal appears to cast North Fork in the unlikely role of white knight. For several months, Floral Park, N.Y.-based North Side had resisted takeover moves by another area rival, New York Bancorp. North Fork, meanwhile, has itself pursued unfriendly takeovers of several other neighbors.

"North Fork has been on an acquisition campaign for several years since it was restored to health, and this was just another piece in the puzzle for them," said Salvatore DiMartino, thrift analyst at Advest Group Inc. in New York.

The transaction would give North Fork 17 new branches, including seven in the Bronx. Although the Bronx is a new market for North Fork, the bank already owns a sizable operation in nearby Westchester County.

In addition, North Fork would gain five branches in Queens, where it would rise to No. 4 in market share, from No. 6. The bank would also pick up four Nassau County branches, bringing its deposit total in that area to almost $900 million.

North Fork would add about 115,000 customers, with virtually no asset quality risks, company officials maintained.

"North Fork has established itself as a growing company," said John Adam Kanas, chairman and chief executive. "We've had a chance to demonstrate our ability to build shareholder value, and I think North Side has wisely chosen to share in that in the future."

North Side had resisted a long takeover effort by Douglaston-based New York Bancorp, parent of Home Federal Savings Bank. …

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