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First Citizens buys bank branch from S&T

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First Citizens Community Bank opened its first State College branch Monday, several months after announcing plans to buy the branch from S&T Bancorp.

The all-cash transaction included the branch at 141 West Beaver Ave. and all of the location's customer accounts. The branch held $43.4 million in loans and $39 million in deposits as of Sept. 30, according to S&T's third-quarter earnings report.

First Citizens also brought on three former S&T private bankers from the branch.

The two banks announced plans for the acquisition in August, with S&T officials saying at the time they wanted to leave the State College area to focus on more rapidly-growing markets. The company was expecting to gain about $1 million from the sale as of the end of the third quarter, S&T Bancorp CEO Todd Brice said in an October call with investors.

S&T is headquartered in Indiana County and has about $7.2 billion in assets and offices throughout Pennsylvania and in parts of Ohio and New York.

Where S&T saw a slow-growing market, First Citizens saw an opportunity. The Tioga County-based bank, a $1.2 billion subsidiary of Citizens Financial Services Inc., is in the midst of a footprint expansion that has at times stretched into the midstate.

First Citizens added Lebanon County branches in 2015 through its acquisition of First National Bank of Fredericksburg; opened a full-service branch in Mount Joy, Lancaster County in 2016 and launched a loan production office in Caernarvon Township, Lancaster County just last month.

The bank has about 30 offices throughout Pennsylvania and New York.

“Our expansion strategy has always been directly related to where we believe we can best deliver our areas of expertise and attract quality talent to the organization,” First Citizens president and CEO Randall Black said in a news release Monday. “As such, we seek markets where our extensive knowledge in Agriculture, small business and mortgage lending will be a resource to the community.”

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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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