Longtime Fields Corner Bank: to Be Acquired

Massachusetts Cooperative Bank, a longtime Fields Corner financial institution with total assets of $121 million and deposits of $101 million, will be acquired by the Abington Savings Bank, a state chartered savings bank with 13 bank offices in the South Shore.

The joint announcement came on Wednesday, April 10 by officials of Abington Bancorp, Inc. holding company for Abington Savings Bank, and Massachusetts Fincorp Inc., parent of Mass Coop.

Mass Coop currently operates three offices in Dorchester, East Milton and Quincy. The bank relocated its main office from Fields Corner to Quincy two years ago. Abington's current offices are in Abington, Brockton, Canton, Cohasset, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Holbrook, Hull, Kingston, Pembroke, Randolph and Whitman.

Abington will pay Mass Coop shareholders $30 per share in cash and stock, for a total purchase price of $17.3 million. Massachusetts Fincorp had converted to a publicly owned corporation in 1998 at a per share prices of $10, in May, 2001. Currently, the bank is owned by about 300 shareholders.

In May, 2001 Mass Coop paid shareholders a 10% stock dividend. The purchase price represents a 38% premium to Mass Coop shareholders, based on the stock's closing price on April 9, the banks stated.

"Abington Savings Bank's reputation for excellent customer service and its commitment to the communities it serves played a large role in our decision to select them as our merger partner," Mass Coop CEO Paul Green said in a press statement. "We see Abington Savings Bank as just the right size: large enough for our customers to benefit from their extensive branch network and wide array of products and services, ye no so big as to be impersonal and institutional... We are confident that joining forces to create a larger, stronger banking organization will also benefit our customers and employees over the long term."

At the end of 2001, Abington has total assets of $770 million, with deposits of $497 million.

"Massachusetts Co-Operative Bank is a natural geographic extension of our current market area," said James P. McDonough, Abington CEO. "Its addition will augment our already successful core deposit growth."

Last Wednesday's announcement is the first step of what is expected to be a 4 to 6 month process. Still to be scheduled are shareholder votes for both banks, and the acquisition must receive regulatory approved by both the SEC and the FDIC.

When completed, it is expected signage at the three Mass Coop offices will be replaced by the Abington Savings Bank banner. The combined assets of the merged banks are expected to approach $1 billion.

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