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Investors Bancorp (ISBC) Completes 8 Berkshire Branch Buyouts

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Investors Bancorp, Inc. (ISBC - Free Report) closed the previously-announced acquisition of the eight New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania branches of Berkshire Bank, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (BHLB - Free Report) , on Aug 27, 2021. 

The transaction was announced last December and approved by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation earlier this month.

With the completion of the acquisition, Investors Bancorp will gain access to about $630 million of deposits, and $220 million of consumer and commercial loans, and related operations. The company used lower funding costs to immediately pay off about $600 million of Federal Home Loan Bank System (“FHLB”) borrowings, which had an average rate of 2.13%. Also, it incurred around $10 million of pre-tax costs as a result.

When the transaction was announced in December, Investor Bancorp noted that the buyout will add about 8,000 clients and double its market share in the Trenton, New Jersey Metropolitan Statistical Area. Notably, four branches are located within 2.5 miles of an Investors Bank branch, thereby, offering opportunities to densify footprint in affluent markets.

The company also expected the extinguishment of the FHLB borrowing to lower its wholesale borrowing ratio, loan to deposit ratio and improve overall net interest margin. Investors Bancorp anticipated the acquisition to be accretive to earnings per share (EPS) by 5%.

The efforts to reduce funding costs will drive operational efficiency and enhance profitability. The acquisition fortifies the company’s central New Jersey deposit franchise, expands its branch footprint and add two branches in strategic Pennsylvania markets.

In the past year, shares of Investors Bancorp have jumped 80.9% compared with 59.2% growth of the industry it belongs to.

 

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Currently, Investors Bancorp carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Competitve Landscape

The banking sector has been witnessing an increase in mergers and acquisition activities to dodge the heightened costs of regulatory compliance and increased investments in technology in a bid to be competitive.

Recently, Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida (SBCF - Free Report) , the holding company for Seacoast National Bank, announced two separate merger agreements. It agreed to acquire Sabal Palm Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of Sabal Palm Bank based in Sarasota, FL, and Business Bank of Florida, Corp., the parent company of Florida Business Bank based in Melbourne, FL. Both deals are expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

In July, Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (CFG - Free Report) and Investors Bancorp announced that they entered a definitive agreement to team up, under which Citizens Financial will acquire the outstanding shares of Investors Bancorp in a stock-and-cash combination. The transaction is expected to close in the first or the second quarter of 2022, subject to the approval of Investors Bancorp shareholders and other customary closing conditions.