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Investors agrees to $452M takeover of Roma

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In an aggressive push to capture market share in central and southern New Jersey, Investors Bancorp Inc., in the Short Hills section of Millburn, has signed an agreement to acquire Robbinsville-based Roma Financial Corp. for $452 million in stock.

“We already do a fair amount of lending in the Philadelphia area … and part of what we do in lending is push heavily for deposits. But with our institution built up in Short Hills and the northern part of the state, it’s difficult to get those deposits,” Investors CEO Kevin Cummings said on a conference call this morning. “This acquisition will put us right in those communities and let us cross sell that market more aggressively.”

Under the agreement, Investors will acquire Roma’s $1.5 billion deposit portfolio over 26 branch locations, most of which are scattered throughout Mercer and Burlington counties. When the deal is completed, said Domenick Cama, Investors chief operating officer, the company will have a combined $8.9 billion in deposits.

The Roma deal marks Investors’ seventh acquisition since June 2008, and it follows the company’s recent deposit expansion in New York through its $135 million cash purchase of Marathon Banking Corp. in October.

Cummings said the mutual holding company’s anticipated second step conversion to full stock ownership in 2013 — which will raise additional capital and produce greater equity returns to shareholders — sold Roma on the buyout.

In a statement, Roma Chair Michele Siekerka said the “transaction opens up many new opportunities for our shareholders, our community, our employees and our customers.”

“Investors is a well-managed, community-oriented institution which, like Roma Bank, distinguishes itself with its focus on customer service,” Roma President and CEO Peter A. Inverso said in a statement. “The breadth of Investors’ product offerings will allow us to maintain, expand and enhance services and products for our customers.”

Cummings said Investors “went into this deal as a partnership,” as the firm invited three Roma board members to join its board and offered the remaining members seats on its advisory board.

“Their way of doing business is very similar to the way we operate this organization, so we expect a smooth integration of culture and business plans,” Cummings said.

The acquisition, which is expected to cost Investors $23 million in pre-tax restructuring charges, has been approved by both firms’ boards and is anticipated to close in the second quarter of 2013, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Cummings anticipates Roma subsidiary RomAsia Bank, which has branch locations in Edison and the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick, will also merge into Investors when the deal closes.


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