Merger? Harleysville And Nationwide

Location of Lower Salford Township in Montgome...

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There is much speculation that Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company is looking to swallow up much smaller Harleysville Insurance (HGIC).  These rumors caused Harleysville‘s stock price to jump 24 percent last week.  Harleysville is based in Lower Salford Township, Montgomery County.  Nationwide is based in Columbus, OH.

Harleysville had a large loss in second quarter this fiscal year.

An interesting side note – the same man who founded Harleysville Insurance Company also founded Harleysville National Bank.  Harleysville National Bank recently merged with Buffalo, NY based First Niagara.  What a sad coincidence it would be if this company succumbed to an out-of-state merger and disappeared as well.

First Niagara Gobbles Up Another Bank

A First Niagara branch in Cranberry Township, ...

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Pottstown newcomer First Niagara Bank is expanding again.  No sooner did the ink dry on the Harleysville sale that brought First Niagara here…they went bought another bank! 

New Alliance Bank of Connecticut was purchased in a $1.5 billion dollar transaction.  The deal will close the second quarter of 2011.  This will give First Niagara Bank 340 offices, $29 billion in assets, $18 billion in deposits and about 5000 employees. 

In comparison, the Harleysville sale price was $300 million. 

Who The Heck Is First Niagara Bank Or Guess Who’s Coming To Pottstown

You may have seen the picture of the North End Harleysville Bank with a First Niagara sign in the Mercury the other day.  Now they changed the sign at the East End branch as well.  The signs are covered up with Harleysville banners for now, but not for long.

So who is First Niagara Bank?  They are a Buffalo, NY based bank.  First Niagara recently moved their headquarters into downtown Buffalo. 

First Niagara is aggressively expanding.   First it was western Pennsylvania where they made a foray into the Pittsburgh market.  First Niagara bought 57 branches of National City Bank.  National City Bank was a casualty of the subprime mortgage crisis and was forced to sell off branches by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

In July of 2009, First Niagara bought Harleysville National Bank which gives them over 80 branches in the Philadelphia region.  So far, First Niagara intends to keep all existing branches open.  According to the First Niagara website, with the Harleysville acquisition they will have 254 branches with $19.3 billion in assets and $13.9 billion in deposits.

So much for having a Pottstown based bank :(.  First, Security National was gobbled up by Harleysville.  Now Harleysville has been gobbled up by First Niagara. 

First Niagara headquarters picture below.