Magazine article American Banker

Boston-Based Thrift Merging with Investment Counseling Service; Combined Merchants Cooperative Bank and Fort Hill Investors Management May Get into New Fee-Based Products

Magazine article American Banker

Boston-Based Thrift Merging with Investment Counseling Service; Combined Merchants Cooperative Bank and Fort Hill Investors Management May Get into New Fee-Based Products

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Merchants Cooperative Bank in Boston is trying to reduce its dependence on interest rate-sensitive revenues and obtain a more predictable stream of asset-based fee income. And executives recently announced that the thrift is merging with Fort Hill investors Management corp., a Boston-based investment counseling firm.

"Like most thrifts, we are saddled with an earnings problem," said Joseph A. Anoli,, executive vice president and chief financial officer. Fort Hill, he said, should provide a more "stable source of revenues."

Merchants is a Massachusetts statechartered thrift organization. Headquartered in Boston, it has eight branches in the state, including offices in Belmont, cambridge, Acton, and Dorchester.

Fort Hill, with 22 employees, manages almost $600 million in pension accounts for corporations and public organizations. Among its clients are TWA and GAF Corp.

fort Hill has a full-service broker-dealer subsidiary, McKinley square Securities Corp., which has offices in Boston, New York, and Paris. This subsidiary is a new firm, with only nine employees, said Mr. anoli.

The deal is to involve stock, with no cash. Fort Hill shareholders will receive 777,000 shares of Merchants stock worth approximately $8.6 million, according to Mr. Anoli. merchants converted to a publicly held company in October 1983. The stock, which trades over the counter, recently traded at $11.

The majority shareholder of Fort Hill is John Lakian, chairman, who owned almost 55%. …

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