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Sussex Bank, Community Bank of Bergen County in $45M merger

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A pair of New Jersey banks are merging in a $45.4 million, all-stock transaction, they announced Tuesday.

Sussex Bancorp, the holding company that is parent of Sussex Bank, has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Community Bank of Bergen County, N.J., in a deal in which Community Bank will merge with and into Sussex Bank, according to a news release.

The deal, which gives Sussex Bank a greater presence in Bergen County, provides Community Bank shareholders with 0.97 of a share of Sussex stock for each outstanding share of Community stock.

“We’re excited to be partnering with (Community Bank CEO and President) Peter Michelotti and the Community Bank of Bergen County, N.J., to expand our presence in one of the most attractive market service areas in the country,” Anthony Labozzetta, CEO and president of Sussex Bancorp and Sussex Bank, said in a prepared statement. “Both of our organizations share many common cultural attributes, with an intense focus on the employee and customer experience, which we believe will make the partnership attractive to the employees and customers of both banks.”

Upon completion of the deal, Michelotti will become chief operating officer, senior executive vice president and a director of both Sussex Bancorp and Sussex Bank. Two other members of the Community board also will join the Sussex Bancorp and Sussex Bank boards.

“We are very pleased to be combining with such a robust and well-run organization,” Michelotti said in a statement. “The combined entity will help us better serve our customers and will greatly enhance shareholder value.”

Both banks’ boards of directors have approved the transaction.

Sussex Bank, which has a branch in Oradell, will gain three full-service branches in Bergen County under the transaction, it said. The Maywood-based Community Bank has branches in Fair Lawn, Maywood and Rochelle Park. Sussex Bank has offices in Wantage and Rockaway, a loan production office in Oradell and an insurance agency affiliate in Augusta and Oradell, as well as 11 branches in northern New Jersey and Astoria, New York.

As of Dec. 31, 2016, Community Bank had about $341 million in total assets, $229 million in loans and $304 million in deposits. The combined company would have about $1.2 billion in assets, $925 million in gross loans and $965 million in deposits, based on Dec. 31 figures.

The deal is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter, subject to customary approvals and conditions.

“We look forward to working with Peter and the rest of the Community Bank of Bergen County team to deliver our combined shareholders the financial benefits of the transaction,” Labozzetta said.

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. was Sussex Bancorp’s financial adviser, while Hogan Lovells US LLP was its legal counsel. FinPro Capital Advisors Inc. was Community Bank’s financial adviser, while Stevens and Lee was its legal counsel.

Sussex Bank was one of NJBIZ’s 50 Fastest Growing Companies in 2016.

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