NBT Bancorp President and CEO John Watt stated he and his equivalent at Salisbury Bancorp, CEO Richard Cantele, invested months going over the offer they revealed recently.
“This was the opposite of a shotgun wedding,” Watt stated. “Rick and I spent a lot of time talking about our complementary cultures, about risk management, about credit, about what we could do together.”
Cantele, too, laid out the painstaking procedure he and Watt went through to guarantee a great cultural and functional suitable for the merged business. “John and I had been talking for a long time,” Cantele stated. “We’d been getting to know each other, how each bank operates, how we think about banking, our people and strategy.”
After the talking was done, NBT accepted pay $204 million in stock for the Lakeville, Connecticut-based Salisbury. The pro forma business would have $13 billion of properties — consisting of $9.1 billion of loan — and $11 billion of deposits. The offer is forecasted to close in the 2nd quarter.
Geographic fit was among the offer’s chief appeals. For the Norwich, New York-based NBT, obtaining the $1.5 billion-asset Salisbury would deepen its footprint in Connecticut and Massachusetts, while extending the franchise into the Middle Hudson Valley.
“If you look at the map, it sure looks like, at eye level, the deal makes sense,” Watt stated. “We extended the NBT franchise in the Southern Berkshires, we put more depth into our presence in Connecticut, and — importantly — we gained a strong foothold in the [Middle] Hudson Valley, where we think there is going to be significant long-term economic growth.”
“When you think of all the serial acquirers out there, NBT is not one of those,” Watt stated. “We’re episodic at most, and we do it for a really intentional reason.”
A ‘transformational chance’
Expanding into the Hudson Valley would offer the $11.6 billion-asset NBT, which last revealed a bank acquisition in 2013, an existence at both ends of an emerging commercial passage that is slated for $120 billion of financial investments by the semiconductor producers IBM and Micron.
Both business revealed significant growth tasks in October. Micron plans to invest $100 billion over the next 20 years building what it referred to as a megafab in Onondaga County, outdoors Syracuse. The enormous job might ultimately consist of 4 600,000-square-foot tidy spaces and develop 50,000 tasks. At the very same time, IBM revealed strategies to invest $20 billion over the next years to increase research study and production capability in the Hudson Valley area.
Founded in 1856, NBT, the holding business for NBT Bank, is well represented in main New York, consisting of 21 branches in the Syracuse city, where it holds about 8% of the $16.2 billion deposit market. By purchasing Salisbury, moms and dad to the Salisbury Bank & Trust Co., whose roots extend back to 1848, NBT 7 gains Hudson Valley places.
From Watt’s perspective, that leaves NBT sitting quite. The larger, more powerful merged business will have the chance to serve roadway and storage facility building and construction companies, trucking business and homebuilders — all of whom look set to take advantage of the coming infusion of semiconductor money.
“What people don’t realize unless they think deeply about it is that the collateral benefits to the economies of these regions associated with chip fabrication are huge,” Watt stated. “All of that in markets that are slow-growth or no growth, historically. That is about to change.”
NBT’s share cost has actually suffered considering that the business revealed strategies to get Salisbury. Shares closed at $42.66 Tuesday afternoon, down about 8% from the pre-announcement level. Watt thinks he can reverse any unfavorable belief with an education project targeted at explaining the scale of NBT’s chance.
“The challenge here is the communication of a transformational opportunity for upstate New York,” Watt stated. “You’ve got to tell the story about 10 times, then people start following it. I’m going to tell the story 10 times, then 10 times thereafter.”
Paring with ‘a bigger variation of ourselves’
While Salisbury’s board frequently surveyed tactical choices, offering the business “was not part of our strategic plan,” Cantele stated. Over time, directors altered their minds as the difficulties of keeping self-reliance, from constructing scale and guaranteeing management succession to keeping success in a market roiled by greatly increasing rates of interest, took their toll.
When the choice to offer was made, Salisbury naturally aimed to NBT as a prime purchaser prospect. During their months of discussions, “I came to realize that [Watt] and NBT would be an ideal fit for us,” Cantele stated. “I saw them as a larger version of ourselves.”
NBT thinks it can cut about $10.7 million, totaling up to about 30%, from Salisbury’s noninterest cost base, however bit to none of those cuts will impact Salisbury’s customer-facing service lines, Watt stated. “There is not a business or a practice Salisbury is engaged in that we would eliminate. It’s how do we enhance them. That’s what we’ve been talking about now for months.”
Just as notably in a market that appears poised to turn high-growth, a broadened balance sheet implies included offer capability. “What’s the most difficult thing to do,” Watt asked. “To look across the table and tell a customer we can’t do the size loan they need to drive growth. In all the markets we serve, the merged company can meet 90% to 95% of customers’ [credit] needs.”
To guarantee connection, Cantele will sign up with NBT’s executive group after the merger in a yet concealed capability.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to stay on through a transitional period to help ensure this is as successful [a merger] as I believe it’s going to be and that we get it right with the integration,” Cantele stated. “I’ve been with Salisbury Bank my entire career. Literally since I was 21. It’s part of who I am. It’s part of my life.”