Copyright © 2019 Westfair Communications Inc.
The parent company of Country Bank, which has a branch office in Scarsdale, and the parent company of OceanFirst Bank N.A. have announced an agreement to merge. The respective parent companies are Country Bank Holding Company Inc. and OceanFirst Financial Corp.
Under the merger agreement, OceanFirst Financial will acquire Country Bank Holding in a transaction worth approximately $102.2 million. Country Bank will merge into OceanFirst Bank. OceanFirst was founded in 1902 and is an $8 billion regional bank with 57 branch offices in New Jersey.
The shareholders of Country Bank Holding will receive 2,000 shares of OceanFirst common stock for each share of Country Bank they hold. OceanFirst stock closed at $23.14 per share on Aug. 8.
Country Bank has branches in New York City, Riverdale and Woodlawn in addition to Scarsdale. The bank had been headquartered in Carmel until 2001 when it moved its headquarters to Manhattan. After the bank was founded in 1988, Joseph M. Murphy, who had a background in real estate investment, joined its board of directors. The bank has been controlled by the Murphy family, which includes Joseph M. Murphy Jr., who is the bank’s president and CEO and Carolyn Murphy, who is the vice president and chief marketing officer.
In 2018, the bank held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to rededicate its Scarsdale office, which was attended by a number of Murphy family members who are active in the bank’s operations, including board members Mary J. Murphy, Patricia Murphy MacGillivra, Vice Chair JoAnn M. Murphy, and Country Bank Holding Company Chairman and CEO Joseph M. Murphy.
While the merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the board of each entity, it still must receive shareholder and regulatory approval. The merger is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.
“We are very pleased about partnering with a high-performing company that shares our community banking culture and values,“ Joseph M. Murphy said. “We will leverage the new resources and products available to us through OceanFirst Bank and are attracted to the opportunity to operate in our current markets with a significantly larger scale.” He predicted customers will benefit from a broader array of products and services.
Country Bank has more than $780 million is assets. It specializes in small business and commercial real estate lending. Its flagship branch at 42nd Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan was opened in 2015.
At the same time the deal with Country Bank was announced, OceanFirst revealed that it had also signed a merger agreement with Two River Bancorp headquartered in Tinton Falls, N.J. It’s a 14-branch bank with $1.2 billion in assets.
In a telephone conference call to discuss the merger agreements with investors and other interested parties, Christopher D. Maher, OceanFirst Financial’s chairman and CEO, said that both Country Bank and Two River are very well run and the mergers offer opportunities for costs savings. “Each bank will make a strong contribution to OceanFirst,” he said.