Longtime Cuyahoga Falls community bank Valley Savings said Tuesday it will merge into the larger Westfield Bank, headquartered in Medina County.
The merger brings together two strong small banks for combined assets of close to $1 billion. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“The timing was right,” said David Hunter, Valley Savings Bank’s chairman of the board. “The best time to sell your business is when it’s doing well.”
The past five years have been the best in Valley’s 91-year history, he said.
And Valley, he noted, unlike some other banks in the years after the Great Recession from 2007-2009, isn’t struggling with nonperforming assets.
The two Valley Savings in Cuyahoga Falls will operate under the Westfield Bank name when the merger is complete, Hunter said.
Westfield currently has six locations in Northeast Ohio. They are in Westfield Center in Medina County, Medina city, Fairlawn, Brecksville, Canton and Wooster.
Westfield Bank Chairman Jon Park said the merger will bring together two financial institutions “that share a commitment to community banking,” offering personalized service. The two banks’ financial resources and people will make for a strong community bank, he and Hunter said.
Employment will total about 150 when the merger is complete in September.
Hunter and Park said the merger will be a cash deal. Park said at a news conference Tuesday that Westfield is paying “a premium” for Valley.
Valley’s 35 to 40 shareholders — including Hunter family members — are to vote in May on the merger, Hunter said.
Hunter said the merger is coming “not without a mixture of emotions.”
Privately owned Valley has long been operated by the Hunter family. David Hunter’s grandfather Clarence E. Motz was involved in the early leadership of the bank and purchased it from the founder in 1928. Hunter’s sister, Ann Hunter Durr, is Valley Savings’ president.
David Hunter said Durr will stay on with Westfield Bank as its senior vice president of retail sales.
Hunter said he would stay with Westfield as an adviser for a year after the merger is complete.
Most of Valley’s employees — numbering fewer than 35 full-time equivalent positions — will remain, Hunter said. Two workers are expected to retire.
Hunter said Valley put the word out that it was interested in selling last year and about 25 banks — some of them out-of-state operations — inquired about buying the Falls bank. Westfield was chosen from a narrowed list of four.
Hunter said that with Westfield, “all those aspects of Valley Savings that people have come to love ... outstanding personal service, community involvement ... accessibility to decision makers ... are not going to change.”
Valley assets total about $130 million, and Westfield’s assets are about $850 million. Valley Savings has about 1 percent of deposits in the Greater Akron area, and about 10 percent of deposits in the Cuyahoga Falls area, according to FDIC records.
Westfield Bank is a subsidiary of Westfield Bancorp.
The banking operations are affiliates of Westfield Insurance, headquartered in Westfield Center in Medina County.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.