Bergen County-based ConnectOne Bancorp Inc. is expanding into Newark, starting with a temporary branch in the city's Ironbound section as it prepares to open its first permanent location by next year, the company said Wednesday.
The 9-year-old lender is making the move after identifying Newark "as a thriving small business and financial community in need of highly personalized, technology-oriented banking services," Frank Sorrentino, its chairman and CEO, said in a prepared statement. The new ConnectOne Bank branch will open at 217 Chestnut St., with the permanent building to open at an adjacent site.
The company, which is based in Englewood Cliffs, announced in January it planned to merge with Union-based Center Bancorp. The $243 million all-stock deal was projected to create a company with some $3 billion in total assets.
At the time, the banks reportedly had a combined 270 employees, according to The Star-Ledger. The merger will give it $2.3 billion in total deposits, $2.1 billion in total loans and 24 branches in northern New Jersey.
The Newark location marks ConnectOne's seventh branch. It also marks its first location with a model involving "universal banking representatives," who handle all the duties normally spread across different departments.
"Newark's strong entrepreneurial backbone, proximity to New York City and thriving business community make it a vital area of opportunity for us and its residents," Sorrentino said.
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