Bar Harbor Bank to acquire Border Trust Co. branches, assets

Bar Harbor Bank & Trust said Tuesday it was acquiring Border Trust Co.’s three branches and substantially all its assets in a deal valued at about $1.16 million.

Augusta-based Border Trust’s branches are in Augusta, South China and Topsham. While Bar Harbor does have a significant commercial loan customer base in the two counties of Sagadahoc and Kennebec, this marks the bank’s first branches there.

“This combination is a logical step in our defined strategy to expand further south and west into markets with attractive demographics, long-term growth potential, and where we have already established significant commercial banking relationships. We are particularly pleased to add community banking locations in Kennebec and Sagadahoc counties,” said Bar Harbor Bankshares President and CEO Joseph Murphy, in a release. “In particular, for some time, our business customer base in the Topsham/Brunswick area has urged us to establish a branch in that location and we are delighted that this combination provides us a physical location in such an attractive market.”

Border Trust has about 24 employees. Murphy said Bar Harbor Bank would “endeavor to offer permanent positions to as many of Border Trust’s employees as we can.”  All Border Trust employees who aren’t retained will receive a competitive severance package based upon years of service, as well as benefits continuation and access to outplacement services, he added.

Border Trust, founded in Jackman in 1969, has approximately $46.9 million in assets, $41.1 million in deposits, and $37.2 million in loans. In 2009, it faced scrutiny by the FDIC for “unsound banking practices,” and was ordered to increase its capital holdings.

In 2010, Border Trust sold its Jackman branch to Skowhegan Savings.

The new deal is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to close in the third quarter.

Last week, Bar Harbor Bankshares, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BHB,” reported record profits of $3.2 million for the first quarter, up 10.2 percent from the same period a year ago. Bar Harbor Bank & Trust has 12 branches throughout Downeast and Midcoast Maine. Last year, the company reported 168 employees.

The Bar Harbor Bank/Border Trust deal is the latest movement in the Maine banking sector, which has shown some action recently. Last week, Camden National Bank announced it was acquiring 15 Bank of America branches throughout Maine in a deal worth $20 million. The deal would expand Camden National’s franchise to 53 branches across Maine.