GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

October 27, 2010

Brookline Bank to buy Ipswich bank

IPSWICH — Brookline Bank signed an agreement yesterday to purchase the First National Bank of Ipswich for $19.7 million.

First National's six branches are all expected to remain open, including the one on Martin Street in Essex. The bank will operate as a subsidiary of Brookline Bank, keeping its name and chief executive officer, Russ Cole, who said no immediate layoffs are planned.

"It allows us to focus on what we really do well, which is taking care of our customers at a local level," Cole said of the sale. "From my perspective, for these types of transactions — the opportunity to partner with Brookline Bank, who brings a tremendous amount of financial strength to us but also values and respects the local franchise we have here in Ipswich — is as good as it gets."

Brookline Bank has 20 branches in Brookline and west of the city; First National has one Boston branch and five in the Ipswich area.

The sale is subject to regulatory approval and the agreement of Ipswich bank stockholders to sell their shares. Under the sale agreement, First National shareholders will receive $8.10 for each share of common stock.

The sale is expected to go through in the first quarter of 2011.

"We think that Russell Cole has done a nice job of transitioning and refocusing the bank on core commercial banking activities. We think there's good opportunity to serve the marketplace of the North Shore," said Paul Bechet, chief financial officer for Brookline Bank.

Cole said there are "no immediate plans" for employee layoffs.

"There's always a possibility there will be some (layoffs)," Bechet said. "We are keeping the (Ipswich) bank on a standalone basis, but there will be some overlap. Any departures will be far less than accustomed to in a typical acquisition process."

In 2005, Brookline Bank purchased Medford Cooperative Bank and its parent, Mystic Financial Inc.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes Lunch Bus Delivers Meals to Kids Out of School Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners Rockets Fired From Gaza, in Breach of Ceasefire Raw: Japanese Military Live Fire Exercise Police, Protesters Clash in Ferguson Independent Autopsy Reveals Michael Brown Wounds Nashville Embraces Motley Crue Obama: 'Time to Listen, Not Just Shout' Lawyer: Gov. Perry Indictment a 'Nasty Attack' Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Crosses Into Ukraine Iowa Man Builds Statue of a Golfer Out of Balls Assange Gets Cryptic About Leaving Embassy in UK Raw: Building Collapse in South Africa, 9 Dead Raw: Pope Francis Meets 'Comfort Women'