F.N.B. buys last 2 midstate Bank of America branches

F.N.B. Corp. has continued its expansion in Central Pennsylvania by buying five Bank of America branches, including two in Lancaster County.

The Pittsburgh-based bank holding company for First National Bank of Pennsylvania, which moved into a new regional headquarters in downtown Harrisburg in 2012, will acquire $280 million in deposits in the acquisition.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, F.N.B. paid $7.7 million in a deposit premium for the five branches and also will have to pay the carrying value of the assets on the book of Bank of America at the closing date and the accrued and unpaid interest on any loans acquired.

F.N.B. spokeswoman Jennifer Reel would not comment on the final cost of the acquisition, referring all questions on the price to the SEC filing.

The closing date is expected to be Sept. 18, according to the filing.

“In addition to acquiring deposits to support our growth needs, these branches will be additive to our 220 locations across the state and will enable our regionally based product specialists in wealth, insurance and banking to compete more effectively in these counties,” F.N.B. President and CEO Vincent Delie Jr. said.

The acquisition marks the end of Bank of America’s physical presence in the midstate. The two Lancaster County branches at 580 Centerville Square and 2010 Fruitville Pike were its last remaining outposts in Central Pennsylvania.

Two of the other branches in the acquisition are in Berks County and the other is in Chester County.

In an email, Bank of America spokeswoman Anne Pace said the decision to sell off the branches is part of a company-wide initiative to adapt its network to customer needs.

F.N.B. said it expects to retain all of the employees at the branches, and customers will soon receive information on the transfer of their accounts.

“The decision to sell these locations to another bank, rather than closing them, was in part made to preserve jobs,” Pace said. “First National Bank of Pennsylvania will be offering employment to the associates working at these financial centers.”

Reel said she wasn’t aware of how long it took for the transaction to be finalized, and which bank made the initial inquiry on the acquisition.

It’s the bank’s first expansion in Central Pennsylvania since it opened a branch in Lower Paxton Township in 2013.

“We’ve always said publicly, whatever is right for our company is what we’ll do,” Reel said concerning future acquisitions or expansions in the region.

F.N.B. has about $16.3 billion in assets and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FNB. It currently has five midstate branches, and the Bank of America branches will mark its first move into Lancaster County.

Michael Sadowski

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