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Startup Advantage Bank to make first acquisition

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Advantage Bank leadership includes Percival B. Moser lll, chairman of the board, left, and George H. Groves, president and CEO.
Advantage Bank leadership includes Percival B. Moser lll, chairman of the board, left, and George H. Groves, president and CEO. - (Photo / )

Advantage Bank is making its first step toward gaining federal deposit insurance by buying a bank about 140 miles west of Harrisburg.

Lemoyne-based Advantage has an agreement in place to absorb The First National Bank of Lilly in Cambria County, Advantage announced Friday. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Advantage Bank is a new institution led by former The Legacy Bank founder George Groves. He will be Advantage Bank's president and CEO, while former Metro Bank COO Percival Moser III will serve as board chairman.

Their plan is to start a bank focused on making loans of between $500,000 and $1 million to small and midsized businesses, a demographic they feel has been left underserved since out-of-state institutions like BB&T and FNB acquired some of the midstate's smaller banks.

Instead of starting from scratch, however, Advantage's leaders have been looking to purchase at least two banks already insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., with plans of expanding organically around Lancaster, Harrisburg and the Chester County suburbs from there.

First National Bank of Lilly fit everything Advantage was seeking in an acquisition target, Groves said Friday. The one-office bank has about $21 million in assets and total shareholders’ equity of just under $3.7 million.

"They were a very nice, good community bank. No problems, good leadership, a good board of directors," Groves said. 

The bank will operate as The First Bank of Lilly, with Lilly director Thomas Swope joining Advantage's board. FNB Lilly CEO James Leahey plans to stay on as regional president after the acquisition.

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Advantage expects to keep much of Lilly's operations the same for the immediate future and keep all of its employees.

Advantage's leaders are negotiating with other institutions and are on track to potentially announce another acquisition in late 2017 or early 2018, Groves said.

The bank recently extended its capital campaign to Sept. 28 from an initial planned end date of June 30, with a goal of raising funds in the neighborhood of $20 million. Groves declined to say how much Advantage has raised so far.

Potential customers in the midstate might start to see Advantage Bank activity here as early as 2018 if the Lilly acquisition closes by the end of 2017 as planned.

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Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @jenni_wentz.

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