2011-12-08 / Front Page

Tower Needmore Branch To Close

Susquehanna to close the branch in February 2012
By Jean Snyder

Tower Bank - Needmore Branch Tower Bank - Needmore Branch Last week, the chairmen of Graystone Tower and Susquehanna Banks announced the closing of the Tower branch bank in Needmore (formerly The First National Bank), effective February 17, 2012.

The closing comes on the heels of the finalization of a merger between Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. (Susquehanna) and Tower Bancorp Inc. (Tower) last month.

Under the terms of Susquehanna’s acquisition of Tower, Susquehanna will acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of Tower.

The Needmore bank opened in 1988 as a branch bank of The First National Bank of McConnellsburg. The First National Bank was locally owned and operated and chartered in 1906. It remained locally owned until it was acquired by The First National Bank of Greencastle in a cash and stock deal that was finalized in January 2006.

According to Alison van Harskamp, director of communications with Susquehanna Bank, five employees are now located at the Needmore bank branch. She said the closing of the bank does not necessarily mean those employees will be without employment, as she said there may be opportunities for them in other Susquehanna locations.

According to a letter sent to the Needmore branch bank customers, their accounts will be transferred to the McConnellsburg office at 101 Lincoln Way West in McConnellsburg. Van Harskamp also said there are no plans to close the Hancock, Md., branch bank.

The physical property of the Needmore branch at 8264 Great Cove Road in Needmore is owned now by Susquehanna Bank, and van Harskamp said it will likely be offered for sale but that no definite plans have been made yet.

The sale of The First National Bank in McConnellsburg to The First National Bank in Greencastle in 2006 began the series of sales and acquisitions that have steadily removed all local control from the bank.

In 2009, the Greencastle bank, with its holding company Tower Bancorp, was acquired by Graystone Bank, with the new holding company being named Graystone Tower Bancorp. Under that merger, several local bankers remained on the board of directors. The last of those directors resigned in January 2011.

In June of this year, the acquisition of Tower Bancorp by Susquehanna Bancshares was announced. Susquehanna agreed to buy Tower for $343 million in cash and stock, at that time a 41 percent premium over Tower’s closing stock price. Under the deal, Tower shareholders were offered 3.4696 shares of Susquehanna common stock, or $28 for each Tower share they owned.

In a press release issued at the time of the acquisition announcement, Susquehanna said that once the Tower deal and another deal with Jenkintown, Pa.-based Abington Bancorp were closed, the combined company would give Susquehanna a top-three market-share position in 14 of the counties it serves. At that time, Susquehanna had $15.2 billion in assets, while Tower had $2.6 billion.

The acquisition was approved unanimously by both boards and Tower Chairman and CEO Andrew Samuel and two other Tower directors will get seats on the Susquehanna board. Van Harskamp said that all aspects of the acquisition will be finalized by February 17, 2012. That is the closing date of the Needmore branch bank, and van Harskamp said the local McConnellsburg banks will then have “Susquehanna Bank” signs erected.

Susquehanna, with corporate headquarters in Lititz, Pa., has more than 250 offices in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and New Jersey.

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