Huntington reaches $3.4B merger agreement with FirstMerit


Staff Report



Valerie Urbanik | Civitas Media FirstMerit has locations in Amherst, Oberlin, and Wellington that will all soon operate under the Huntington banner.


A $3.4 billion merger agreement has been reached that will affect FirstMerit Bank locations up and down Rt. 58.

The company has announced it will be taken over by Huntington Bancshares, which means the FirstMerit name will disappear from the areas covered by our newspapers.

There are FirstMerit locations on Cleveland Street in Amherst, Main Street in Oberlin, and Main Street in Wellington.

The combined banks are expected to have nearly $100 billion in assets, stated a Huntington press release. “The combination will create the largest bank in Ohio, based on deposit market share,” it said.

Huntington will take control as part of a stock and cash transaction. It will also open its first operations in Chicago and Wisconsin.

The two banks have served their customers for more than 150 years across the Midwest.

Huntington has more than 750 branches and 1,500 ATMs across six states and FirstMerit has nearly 366 bank offices and 400 ATMs in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

“We are very pleased to come together with FirstMerit to create a regional bank with added customer convenience, an enhanced portfolio of products for consumers and businesses, as well as strong market share,” said Steve Steinous, Huntington chairman, president, and CEO. “I believe the strength of this deal is that both organizations already understand the needs and goals of our Midwestern customers and communities.”

Huntington had record earnings in 2015, which included a 10 percent increase in net income and 13 percent increase in earnings per common share, stated the bank’s press release. FirstMerit had its 67th consecutive quarter of profitability.

“Joining forces with Huntington will give us an opportunity to combine both companies’ commercial, small business, wealth, and consumer expertise while giving all of our customers greater access to services,” said Paul Greig, FirstMerit chairman, president, and CEO. “We have every confidence that the integration with Huntington will be smooth and seamless for our customers and our communities and are pleased with the commitments that Huntington has made to our employees and communities,” Greig said.

The transaction is expected to be finalized in the third quarter of this year after receiving authorization.

Banks are eating each up quickly in mergers these days.

Lorain National Bank (with locations in Amherst and Oberlin) was absorbed into Northwest recently, and Talmer Bank (which has a location on Cooper Foster Park Road in Amherst) was purchased by Chemical Bank.

Industry experts say the purchases come as banks try to deal with regulatory costs and low interest rates that cut into earnings.

Valerie Urbanik | Civitas Media FirstMerit has locations in Amherst, Oberlin, and Wellington that will all soon operate under the Huntington banner.

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Valerie Urbanik | Civitas Media FirstMerit has locations in Amherst, Oberlin, and Wellington that will all soon operate under the Huntington banner.

Staff Report