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Bank of New Hampshire to acquire Community Guaranty Savings Bank

Union Leader Correspondent

December 02. 2015 11:34PM
Headquartered in downtown Laconia, the Bank of New Hampshire, shown here in August 2015, announced on Nov. 23 that it was acquiring Community Guaranty Savings Bank, which has branches in Plymouth and Campton, for $12.9 million cash. (John Koziol)

LACONIA — The state’s oldest and one of its largest independent banks just got a little bit bigger.

Continuing a pattern of growth that began more than two decades ago, Bank of New Hampshire recently announced that it and Community Guaranty Savings Bank signed an agreement under which the former’s parent company — BNH Financial — would acquire Community Guaranty Corp., the latter company’s parent, for $12.9 million in cash.

Subject to federal and state approvals as well as approval by CGC shareholders — who would receive $65.10 per share, or almost 160 percent of Community Guaranty’s book value — the agreement is expected to be finalized in May 2016, at which time the Community Guaranty Savings Bank branches in Plymouth and Campton will become BONH offices.

According to the 2014 annual report of New Hampshire Banking Department Commissioner Glenn Perlow, BONH is one of 16 state-chartered banks and, as measured by total assets of $1.2 billion, the largest of them.

Last year, BONH had loans of $842 million; deposits of $975 million, and capital of $138 million.

By comparison, Community Guaranty was the smallest bank by total assets, $109 million, said Perlow, and had total loans of $67 million, total deposits of $95 million, and capital of $9.8 million.

Chartered in 1831 as the Meredith Bridge Savings Bank, a mutual bank owned by its depositors, the forerunner of BONH was renamed Laconia Savings Bank in 1869, 24 years before Laconia was chartered as a city.

Headquartered on Pleasant Street in downtown Laconia, LSB in 1999 acquired nine new offices from Fleet Bank.

From 2005 on, LSB — which became Bank of New Hampshire in 2012 — opened branches in Concord, Bedford, Dover, Manchester and Rochester.

Currently, BONH has 21 branches.

Mark Primeau, BONH’s president and CEO, hailed the acquisition of Community Guaranty Savings Bank, saying in a prepared statement that the deal would eventually provide customers access “to 24 full-service office locations throughout the state including our new Portsmouth office that is scheduled to open spring 2016."

Additionally, BONH would strengthen its presence in Plymouth, where it already has a branch, said Primeau, noting that the bank has “a 184-year history of building lifelong relationships with its customers by providing what matters most — personal attention from knowledgeable staff and financial products that make it easy to save and borrow.”

Michael Long, president and CEO of the 27-year old Community Guaranty Savings Bank, said the merger with BONH was to ensure in a rapidly-changing banking industry that “our customers' needs are fulfilled while not losing our commitment to the communities” it serves.

BONH, Long said, “shares our commitment to service and community banking."

Business Laconia

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