Steve Hailer, head of North Akron Savings since 1991, wasn’t looking to sell the community bank when he and the head of Peoples Bancorp Inc. struck up a conversation in December.
But the two men with ties to Marietta — Chuck Sulerzyski as president and CEO of Marietta-based Peoples Bank and Hailer, who had spent a year in 1990 as head of a bank there — began talking about Sulerzyski’s vision for Peoples.
On Tuesday, the banks announced that North Akron Savings agreed to be purchased by Peoples Bancorp for $20.1 million in cash and stock.
The deal works out to $7,655 per share, North Akron Savings Bank said in a news release. Shareholders of the privately held bank may elect to receive cash, stock, or a combination of both.
The North Akron Savings/Peoples deal is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year, pending regulatory and other approvals.
North Akron Savings Bank’s four branches in Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Munroe Falls and Norton will then become Peoples Bank branches.
Hailer noted that North Akron Savings has about $147 million in assets, including $118 million in loans and about $109 million in total deposits. He said it is a “good bank with a strong network,” and its size limited being able to service all of its customers, particularly commercial accounts.
“Sometimes, you can be very good at certain things, but you can’t service all of their needs and you send people to other places and then they develop other relationships,” Hailer said. “This way, we get to serve all people.”
Hailer, 64, will stay on to develop business relationships for Summit County for Peoples.
“We’re going to be creating jobs. If we can do manufacturing loans, that means people are going to be getting hired,” he said.
Peoples has $2.1 billion in total assets with 41 branches.
The bank is in growth mode, having bought a bank with a branch in Beachwood last year and earlier this month announcing a purchase of Coshocton-based Heritage Bank with its six branches.
In a phone interview, Sulerzyski said the bank is “trying to fill in the I-77 corridor from Charleston, W.Va., to Cleveland and we thought that Steve’s bank is a very nice fit. He and I had a good cultural alignment.”
Similarly, Peoples Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Banking Officer Dan McGill, has Akron connections. The Akron native and resident commutes around the state and to his job in Marietta and he and his team will be able to bring better lending capabilities to Summit County, Sulerzyski said.
The acquisitions mean Peoples can attempt to compete with the large banks, McGill said.
Hailer and Sulerzyski said North Akron Savings customers will be able to enjoy mobile banking on smartphones that includes photo capture of checks, something that a bank the size of North Akron couldn’t afford to invest in alone.
Peoples is also one of 600 banks nationwide that also sell insurance products, Sulerszyski said.
North Akron Savings dates to 1921 as North Hill Savings & Loan Co. After the pending acquisitions, Peoples will have $2.6 billion in assets and 53 branches in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. Shares trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol PEBO.
The Summit County branches will all remain. The intention is to keep as many of the 41 North Akron employees as possible, Hailer said.
Sulerzyski said Peoples will also be looking to expand in Summit County with acquisitions of insurance agencies and investment businesses.