Last updated: July 25. 2013 11:48PM - 3051 Views

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An agreement is in place for eight Bank of America branches in Northeastern Pennsylvania, including five in Luzerne County, to be purchased by the parent company of First Liberty Bank and Trust.

Under the terms of the agreement, announced this week, Community Bank System Inc. will acquire approximately $369 million in deposits at a deposit premium of 2.39 percent.

“We are excited by the opportunity to strengthen Community Bank’s service footprint across our Northeast Pennsylvania market area,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Tryniski. “This acquisition meaningfully improves our presence and density in Northeast Pennsylvania and provides us with improved operating leverage. We believe this is a very attractive transaction at an opportune time in the interest rate cycle and will be additive to shareholder value through expected earnings accretion in 2014.”

The acquisition involves Bank of America branches in Kingston, Wilkes-Barre, Freeland, Scranton, Lehighton, Lansford and two in Hazleton.

The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory review and approval.

Community Bank System Inc., based in Dewitt, N.Y., previously announced that it will rebrand its First Liberty Bank and Trust operations in Northeastern Pennsylvania to Community Bank N.A. This changeover is targeted to be complete by early September.

According to a release posted on Community Bank’s website: “There will be no changes to customer accounts prior to the transaction closing. Customers of the acquired branches need not take any action at this time, and will be receiving information regarding the transfer of accounts over the next few months. Community Bank expects to retain all of the current customer service personnel at the acquired branches.”

“Our team will be working closely with employees of Bank of America to ensure a smooth transition which we expect will be virtually seamless for customers,” said Tryniski. “We believe that our new customers will be very pleased with our strong focus on service and our comprehensive product line.”

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