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Merrimack County, Meredith Village savings banks to unite

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 01. 2012 9:13PM

MANCHESTER - Meredith Village Savings Bank and Merrimack County Savings Bank will join under one umbrella, but keep their separate identities, the banks said Friday.

It will be 'very much a combination of equals,' said Paul C. Rizzi Jr., president and CEO of Merrimack County Savings Bank.

The New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp, which they plan to create, will be the state's first multi-bank mutual holding company, he said.

'We're excited at this partnership,' said Samuel L. Laverack, president and CEO of Meredith Village Savings Bank.

'It is something that is innovative in the banking world for New Hampshire, and it should help all parties,' he said.

Each bank will retain its separate state charter, name, senior management and board of directors.

Merrimack Village Savings Bank does not have a holding company structure, so its board of directors and corporators must approve creation of a holding company for the bank. That holding company will then merge with the holding company for Merrimack County Savings Bank into the new New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp.

Rizzi said the mutual banks have no stock, so 'There is no money involved.

'This isn't driven by a price or an exchange of money,' he said. 'This is simply a combination for the purpose of making us more efficient, enabling us to better bring our products and services to our customers to be more competitive in that way, and it also is a way of us creating more opportunity for our work force, ensuring our sustainability. That's what it's all about.'

Besides their own incorporators' approval, the merger needs approval from the FDIC, the Federal Reserve and the state Banking Department. State Bank Commissioner Ronald Wilbur has recused himself, department spokesman Dick Arcand said. Wilbur was chairman, trustee and director of Merrimack County Savings Bank before becoming state bank commissioner last year.

Glenn Perlow, Banking Department legal counsel, will oversee the department's approvals. 'It's a multiphase process,' he said.

'We'll review the agreement they released today to make sure that it has received the appropriate approvals from the boards of both banks,' Perlow said. 'We'll receive further filings once they've worked with our federal regulators.'

Perlow was recently approved by the governor and Executive Council to beginning serving Aug. 1 as deputy bank commissioner.

Meredith Village Savings Bank, founded in 1869, had total assets of more than $675 million as of March 31.

Merrimack County Savings Bank, founded in 1867, had total assets of more than $657 million as of March 31.

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