Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

M&t Integrates after Merger

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

M&t Integrates after Merger

Article excerpt

It took more than three years for the U.S. to approve M&T Bank Corp.'s plan to take over Paramus-based Hudson City Bancorp, but the conversion of 135 Hudson City's branches into full-service M&T commercial banking centers took only one three-day weekend in February. The integration is still a work in progress, however, with the retraining of former Hudson City staff expected to continue through the end of this year and into 2017.

In February, M&T sent about 1,000 employees from other areas into New Jersey and the New York City area, Noel Carroll, senior vice president and retail market manager for New Jersey and Greater New York City, said in a recent interview at his Paramus office. "We changed all the PC, all of the hardware at the teller stations; all the locks were changed,'' he said. "It was a big undertaking."

The deal that closed Nov. 1 made Buffalo, N.Y.-based M&T -- which had a commercial lending office in Saddle Brook -- one of the 10- largest banks in the state by deposits.

Customer retention has been on par with the bank's previous experience in mergers, said Carroll, who declined to be more specific. "We have a due diligence plan and we are well within the plan," he said.

Before moving to New Jersey, Carroll had overseen M&T's absorption of the operations of several banks in Baltimore, including Provident Bank of Maryland, which had 143 branches.

Although that bank was a little bigger than Hudson City, the Bergen County institution's geography is more expansive, stretching from Fairfield County in Connecticut to Westchester County, Staten Island and Long Island in New York, and across most of New Jersey. M&T is now operating 98 former Hudson City branches in the Garden State, filling a large gap in its network.

Heidi Nitka, manager of a Morris County branch in Randolph, is in the midst of a six-month small-business banking training program and is eager to expand her knowledge in commercial banking, an area in which mortgage lender and certificate-of-deposit specialist Hudson City only dabbled in. …

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