News Column

Banking on corporate change

July 18, 2014

By James Niedzinski, Gloucester Daily Times, Mass.



July 18--While the pending merger of Rockport'sGranite Savings Bank with Gloucester-based Cape Ann Savings Bank will alter both institutions' corporate structure and governance, bank leaders said Thursday that customers will see few direct changes assuming the merger is approved.

The two prime components of the merger, announced jointly by the banks at 5 p.m. Wednesday and first reported Wednesday evening at gloucestertimes.com, will be the boards of trustees and bank corporators.

Norman Seppala, Granite's president and CEO, said bank currently has 17 trustees. According to the banks' agreement, four of those trustees will become trustees at Cape Ann Savings Bank.

Seppala said Thursday that those four trustees were elected by the others. The remaining 13 trustees will serve on an advisory committee for one year. After that, the committee members will become corporators of Cape Ann Savings Bank.

That committee, according to Mark Rogers II, president of Cape Ann Savings Bank, will "advise on customer relation issues, promote the bank, and render advice and support."

Beyond the corporate reorganization, customers can expect more services in Rockport, where Granite Savings Bank will soon be known as the Granite branch of Cape Ann Savings Bank, Cape Ann Savings counsel and trustee Michael Faherty said.

Rogers said Thursday that customers will see expanding commercial lending services, as well as trust management and other services.

He described Granite Savings Bank as one of Cape Ann's "friendly competitors," and said that Cape Ann Savings Bank customers in Rockport will now be getting more for their money as well.

"(Granite Savings Bank) also has a secondary mortgage market," he said. "That's one of the things that will help us, too."

Rogers said he was very excited about the deal. The approval votes by corporators of both banks are expected to be taken toward the end of this year, while the merger must also get regulatory approvals from the state's Division of Banks and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC.

"What we have here is two strong banks consolidating into one to better serve the community," Rogers said.

Seppala and Rogers said both banks agreed to the advisory committee before the Wednesday merger announcement.

"Both organizations felt it was important this advisory committee be formed," said Seppala, who first approached Cape Ann Savings last September regarding potential merger talks.

Cape Ann Savings Bank has 120 corporators while Granite Savings Bank has about 60. The merger -- which bank officials have said does not include any sale price given that it's a merger, not an acquisition -- nonetheless requires a two-thirds vote approval of the corporators of both banks. Should corporators and regulators approve the deal, Cape Ann Savings Bank would have around 180 corporators and 20 trustees, Rogers said.

The trustees essentially act as the board of directors for the bank. Corporators, Seppala said, are individuals that have a lineage with the founding of a bank and decide on appointments of presidents and vice presidents.

Since both banks are mutual institutions, neither is publicly traded.

"Obviously," Seppala said, "our stakeholders are our customers, employees and the community."

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-675-2708, or via email at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com

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(c)2014 the Gloucester Daily Times (Gloucester, Mass.)

Visit the Gloucester Daily Times (Gloucester, Mass.) at www.gloucestertimes.com

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Source: Gloucester Daily Times (MA)


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