The First to acquire 2 Camden National branches

The Maine banking industry is seeing a few aftershocks following Camden National’s purchase of 15 branches from Bank of America.

It was announced Monday that The First will buy the branch at 63 Union St. in Rockland, one of the 15 branches acquired recently by Camden National. It will also buy the building at 145 Exchange St., Bangor, which currently holds a Camden National branch. The entire deal is pegged at $7.7 million, according to a Monday release.

Camden National plans to consolidate its Bangor operations into the 80 Exchange St. branch it purchased recently from Bank of America. The First, based in Damariscotta, plans to open a new branch at 145 Exchange in the first quarter of 2013, the company said in the release.

According to the release, Camden National is divesting of the Rockland branch to resolve competitive issues raised by the Department of Justice’s antitrust division. The release made no mention of the reason behind the Bangor branch sale – but the branches on Exchange Street are relatively close, so market reasons likely played a dominant role.

“We are excited about the opportunity this provides for The First,” said Daniel R. Daigneault, president and CEO of The First. “The branch at 63 Union Street will enhance our ability to serve our existing Rockland customers from a second location. We intend to retain the existing employees at this branch and will make the transition as easy as possible for our new customers.”

As part of the transaction, The First will acquire deposit accounts in the Rockland location as well as a small volume of loans.

The Rockland branch transaction is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. The sale of the 145 Exchange Street building in Bangor will close at the same time.

“Our team will work closely with both banks during this transition process,” said Gregory A. Dufour, president and CEO of Camden National. “We are pleased The First has pledged to retain the Rockland employees and we will all work together to ensure the transition between banks is as smooth as possible.”

The April Bank of America/Camden National deal was estimated to be worth $20 million.