Investors Bancorp closed 10 of its 157 branches this month, including four in South Jersey, as it prepares to add eight from Berkshire Hills Bancorp.
According to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, Short Hills-based Investors (NASDAQ: ISBC) shuttered the following South Jersey branches:
- 1006 Kresson Road in Voorhees, Camden County
- 320 Evesboro-Medford Road in Marlton, Burlington County
- 52 Main St. in Vincentown, Burlington County
- 101 N. Broadway in Pitman, Gloucester County
Also closed were locations in Washington Township, Freehold, Clark and Brunswick in North Jersey, as well as Brooklyn and Queens in New York.
In an email response to an inquiry, Investors did not specifically state why those branches were closed. It said that it continually reviews its branch network “with the goal of best serving our customers while improving operating efficiencies.” Virtually every bank is re-evaluating retail branch networks after the pandemic forced even some of the more technology-averse customers to adapt to online and mobile banking.
Wells Fargo closed 329 of its 5,200 branches last year and has plans to close about 250 this year. TD Bank recently filed to close 81 of its 1,223 branches, including 11 in this region. PNC closed 160 branches last year and plans to close another 120 this year. Citizens eliminated 50 branches last year and 56 so far this year, including four in this region. When the parent company of WSFS Financial Corp. recently announced plans to acquire Bryn Mawr Bank Corp., it said it would shutter 40 of the combined bank’s 130 locations.
Investors now has 147 branches, including 101 in New Jersey and 46 in New York. Of those New Jersey branches, it has seven in Burlington County (Bordentown, Burlington, Columbus, Maple Shade, Medford, Moorestown and Mount Laurel), three in Gloucester County (Glassboro, Sewell and Williamstown) and one in Camden County (Cherry Hill).
The bank obtained its South Jersey presence via two separate deals a month apart. It entered Burlington and Camden counties through its acquisition of Robbinsville-based Roma Bancorp in December 2013 and the Gloucester County sites came from the January 2014 purchase of Sewell-based Gateway Community Financial Corp. Through those two deals, Investors has become the 17th-largest deposit taker in the Philadelphia region with $1.8 billion in deposits.
The bank seemed poised for further expansion after raising more money by holding a second-step conversion from a mutual holding company to a full publicly traded company. But in January 2017, the bank’s push into the Philadelphia area stalled after it agreed to a mutual termination of its planned $154 million acquisition of The Bank of Princeton. Approval of that deal was delayed by a 2016 enforcement order with the FDIC and New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance regarding its Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering compliance.
The order was lifted in 2018 and Investors bought Gold Coast Bancorp in Islandia, New York, for $63.6 million in 2019. But the $25.8 billion-asset bank has always wanted to expand further into the Philadelphia region.
Investors finally crossed the Delaware River after agreeing in December to buy eight branches in Central New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania from Boston-based Berkshire Hill Bancorp, ending the latter’s four-year brick-and-mortar retail presence in this region.
The deal will give Investors its first Pennsylvania branches in Yardley and Horsham as well as expand its presence in nearby Central New Jersey with sites in Lawrenceville, Hamilton, Robbinsville, Mercerville, East Windsor, and Kingston. The deal, which Investors CEO Kevin Cummings told analysts during the bank’s first-quarter earnings call includes “approximately $300 million in loans and $600 million in deposits,” is expected to close in the first half of 2021.
Cummings, who a spokeswoman said was not available to speak Wednesday, told analysts that the bank had recently agreed to a marketing partnership with Minor League Baseball’s Trenton Thunder, which is in the same market as the branches it will inherit from Berkshire.
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