State College area bank is changing hands. Here’s why

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First Commonwealth Financial Corporation on Monday announced the acquisition of 14 Santander Bank branches — including the two in State College.

The purchase of the 14 branches, others located in Lock Haven, Renovo, Beech Creek, Williamsport and Lewisburg, add approximately $525 million of deposits and $120 million of retail and business loans to First Commonwealth, according to a release.

The move, First Commonwealth CEO T. Michael Price said, will help the Indiana, Pa.-based bank expand its Pennsylvania footprint further east, by adding approximately 22,000 retail and small business households to its profile.

“The contiguous expansion of our footprint into these new towns, which have complementary demographics and culture to our core western Pennsylvania markets, makes perfect sense for us,” he said. “These branches have a long history as community bank branches. We look forward to improving the financial lives of our new neighbors and businesses in these communities.”

For Santander Bank, the sale helps the Spanish banking giant reallocate its capital to investments in core markets that drive growth, a release said.

Although Santander is exiting Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Mountour, Northumberland and Union counties, it’s remaining in south-central and southeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

“Santander is proud to have served these communities in central Pennsylvania for more than a decade,” Michael Cleary, co-president of Santander Bank, said in a release. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with First commonwealth — a mission-driven community bank that shares our values of providing excellent service to our customers and a great work environment for our team members.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the third quarter, according to the release.