Columbia Bank and Freehold Bank will merge, according to a June 17 announcement from the financial institutions.
Under the terms of the agreement, Columbia Bank MHC, the mutual holding company that owns Columbia Financial Inc., will acquire Freehold, with Freehold MHC and Freehold Bancorp merging into Columbia Bank MHC and Columbia Financial, respectively. Freehold Bank will convert to a federal savings bank and operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia Financial.
Freehold Bank is Monmouth County’s oldest savings institution, having operated in Freehold for more than 167 years. As of March 31, 2021, Freehold Bank had total assets of $299.8 million, loans of $155.9 million, deposits of $197.2 million and equity capital of $39.5 million.
Columbia has offered full employment to all Freehold employees with Freehold Bank, and will add one current member of Freehold’s board of directors to its own following the completion of the merger the banks, which is anticipated to occur two years after the completion of the mergers of the holding companies.
Thomas Kemly, Columbia’s president and chief executive officer, commented: “We are pleased with the opportunity to welcome Freehold Bank and its employees and customers to Columbia Bank. The transaction will broaden our footprint into Monmouth County. As two community-minded banks, we are proud to strengthen our local impact and support new markets.”
The transaction, which has been approved by each company’s board of directors, is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of various regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021 after all such conditions are met.
Columbia was advised by the investment banking firm of Boenning & Scattergood Inc. and represented by the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. Freehold was advised by FinPro Capital Advisors Inc. and represented by the law firm of Stevens & Lee PC.
Headquartered in Fair Lawn, Columbia Bank as of March 31, 2021, had total assets of $9.0 billion, loans of $6.2 billion, and operates 61 branches with deposits of $7.0 billion in deposits.