New midstate bank expected to open this week

Joel Berg//October 2, 2018

New midstate bank expected to open this week

Joel Berg//October 2, 2018

But the Camp Hill-based bank first has to close on a deal to buy the bankrupt Stonebridge Financial Corp. and its subsidiary, Stonebridge Bank, which operates a branch in West Chester.

After getting a green light from state and federal regulators, the acquisition is expected to close Thursday, said Andrew Samuel, Linkbankcorp’s chairman and CEO. The price is about $1 million, Samuel said.

Stonebridge’s branch will open Friday under Linkbankcorp ownership, Samuel said. It will then undergo a rebranding to become Linkbank, a process that also requires regulatory approval.

“After that, it’s a matter of strategically looking at Central Pennsylvania and southeastern Pennsylvania and figuring out where we would like to have branches,” said Samuel, noting that the bank will rely more on technology to reach business and retail customers than on brick-and-mortar offices.

Stonebridge has assets of about $50 million, a mix of securities and loans, Samuel said. The branch employs about 10 people, all of whom are expected to join Linkbank.

Samuel, a veteran midstate bank executive, said he and his colleagues already are expecting customers for their new venture. Samuel started the bank this summer after a stint leading a bank in Florida.

“We’ve got a nice pipeline of deposit and loan customers,” he said. “We’ll be transitioning them to us effective Friday.”

The deal to acquire Stonebridge allows Linkbank to forgo having to apply for its own insurance through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Samuel said. It can use Stonebridge’s insurance.

“That might have been a … longer process and we felt we wanted to enter the market as soon as we could and felt like the acquisition of Stonebridge was going to be a faster way to enter the market and meet the needs of our clients,” Samuel said, noting that the FDIC still had to approve the purchase.

Linkbank has raised $45 million in capital to support its launch, Samuel said.