Bank of NH to buy Community Guaranty Savings

Deal offers $12.9 million in cash for Plymouth bank

The biggest state-chartered bank in New Hampshire has reached a deal to buy the state’s smallest one.

BNH Financial, parent company of Laconia-based Bank of New Hampshire, announced yesterday it will be buying Community Guaranty Corp., parent company of Community Guaranty Savings Bank in Plymouth, for $12.9 million in cash.

Shareholders of the privately held corporation, if they and regulators approve the deal, will receive $65.10 for each of their shares. If all goes according to plan, Bank of New Hampshire signs will be going up on the Community Guaranty’s branches in downtown Plymouth and Campton in about six months.

Bank of New Hampshire has 21 branches, including one in Plymouth, but it has no plans to consolidate, said Tiffany Benton, a Bank of New Hampshire spokesperson. Community Guaranty has two branches,

The Bank of New Hampshire branch is on the outskirts of Plymouth, “so they really are two different sites,” she said.

Community Guaranty, which employs 30 people, is the state’s smallest bank, with assets total assets of about $109 million at the end of 2014, according to its annual report. That year, the company’s net income was $360,000, or $1.81 per common share. Total loans were up to $66.7 million and deposits were at $94.9 million.

Bank of New Hampshire’s assets were north of $1.2 billion, with net income of $6.6 million in the same period.

Mike Long and Ron Sibley started Community Guaranty in 1988 having left Plymouth Guaranty Savings after it was acquired a year earlier by the former First NH Banks of Manchester, which eventually became part of Citizens Bank.

“Frustrated by the new head office 50 miles away, Ron and Mike leave PGSB to form a new local Plymouth bank where the focus will be once again on personal savings and community,” said the bank in its annual report.

The bank grew to have the largest market share in Plymouth, said Long, the bank’s CEO, in a message to his stockholders on that report, but he also complained about increasing government oversight.

“It is hard in a small bank like ours to take hard-working staff and add the burden of so much additional regulation,” he said.

Long could not be reached for comment, but in a press release on the merger said, “We recognize banking is a rapidly changing industry and to ensure our customers’ needs are fulfilled while not losing our commitment to the communities, we are merging with Bank of New Hampshire, and know that it is an organization which shares our commitment to service and community banking.”

Sibley added that the deal offered “outstanding value for our shareholders” and that customers would benefit from Bank of New Hampshire’s “wide range of products and commitment to service.”

Both Sibley and Long will be appointed to serve as directors of Bank of New Hampshire, said the release.

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