Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Two Area Banks to Join Forces

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Two Area Banks to Join Forces

Article excerpt

Two Jacksonville-based banks are merging but nobody is leaving town.

Alliance Capital Partners said yesterday it is buying Marine National Bank and merging it into its wholly owned subsidiary, First Alliance Bank, a federally chartered savings bank.

For Marine National, the merger means access to technology and to lower-cost deposits that will enable it to make bigger and longer-term loans to its business customers.

For First Alliance, the merger accomplishes an instant ex- pansion of its presence in the Jacksonville market as well as the ability to offer a broader suite of consumer products, including checking accounts.

"It's a great fit for us and immediately positions us to be a player in the Jacksonville market as well as allowing us to more aggressively pursue synergies in our business lines," said Rob Clements, president and chief executive of Alliance Capital Partners.

"We do what they don't, and vice versa," said Joe Williams, president of Marine National.

The deal has to be approved by shareholders of Marine National and also by regulators, which could take three to four months.

Terms of the merger were not disclosed by the two privately held companies. Williams becomes chairman, and David Strickland will continue as president of First Alliance.

Williams and Strickland said that the expanded First Alliance would need all the employees of both companies.

The merger creates a bank with assets of more than $200 million, which puts First Alliance in the top tier of Jacksonville area community banks, after Prosperity Bank of St. Augustine and First Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. of Jacksonville. It will have 59 employees.

For Williams, the move to First Alliance comes almost exactly 10 years after he and a group of investors bought an ailing Marine National and began rebuilding it. …

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