by Pete Mazzaccaro
Valley Green Bank announced this week that it has entered into an agreement to merge with Univest Corporation – a bank based in Souderton with 40 branches between the Lehigh Valley and Maryland. The acquisition is an all-stock transition of approximately $75 million.
Under the agreement, Valley Green will become an independent division of Univest. Valley Green Bank’s retail branches and loan offices – including the two branches in Northwest Philadelphia – will retain their names and will continue to be run by CEO Jay Goldstein, who has headed the bank since it opened in 2005.
Goldstein said customers of the bank should expect no discernible change in the way the bank is run.
“Everything our customers know and all the people they know who work here will stay the same,” Goldstein told the Local.
What will change, he said, is the added services and technology Univest offers, including wealth management, mortgage lending and mobile banking.
“Univest was looking for a partner with success in the Philadelphia market,” Goldstein said of the merger. “It’s really a perfect pernership.”
Despite the merger with a larger bank, Goldstein noted that Univest is really a community bank as well.
“If you combine Univest and Valley Green Bank’s assets today, it’s still by far the smallest bank in Chestnut Hill,” he said. “We’re still very much a local bank that’s based in the region.”
Valley Green currently has $329 million in loans and $370 million in deposits. Univest, while smaller than larger banks like PNC, was much larger than Valley Green Bank, with 40 area branches and assets totaling more than $3 billion. Univest’s President and CEO, Jeffrey M. Schweitzer, said Valley Green was attractive not only because it was growing in Philadelphia – a market it sought to enter – but that it shared a philosophy with Univest.
“For 138 years, Univest has operated with the same philosophy that has become Valley Green Bank’s hallmark – remain disciplined and focused on providing competitive financial solutions, build trust and manage risks by getting to know your customers, and get involved and support your local community,” Schweitzer said. “This is an important step in our strategic plan and we are excited for the opportunity to combine our joint expertise and introduce Univest’s diversified financial solutions to the very desirable Philadelphia market.”
The transaction is set to be finalized in the first quarter of 2015. Valley Green shareholders are expected to receive stocks worth approximately $27 for each VGB share held. That final price will be determined by the value of Univest stock when the transaction is completed.
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