PhillyInc: Investors Bancorp moving up

Posted: April 10, 2013

In 2012, Investors Bancorp Inc. barely had a market share in terms of deposits in the three South Jersey counties that are part of the Philadelphia region.

Now, Investors Bank is poised to be the ninth-biggest holder of deposits in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties after announcing two acquisitions in the last four months. It would squeeze between Susquehanna Bank (No. 8) and Citizens Bank (No. 10).

In December, the Short Hills, N.J.-based bank holding company said it would acquire Roma Financial Corp., which has 26 branches, including 11 in Burlington County and two in Camden County.

On Monday, Investors Bancorp management talked with financial analysts about its planned acquisition of the parent of GCF Bank and its four Gloucester County branches.

GCF had assets of $309.8 million and deposits of $278.6 million in branches at Glassboro, Pitman, Williamstown, and Sewell, where it maintains its headquarters. According to a recent filing with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., GCF has 46 employees.

Swallowing a bank that small isn't a stretch for Investors Bancorp, which will have 132 branches from Cherry Hill to Long Island on completion of the Roma and GCF transactions.

During a conference call, Investors Bancorp chief operating officer Domenick Cama said GCF has been operating under an enforcement order issued by its regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. According to that September agreement, the OCC had found at GCF "unsafe and unsound banking practices and regulatory violations relating to management and board supervision."

GCF, which had changed its name from Gloucester County Federal Savings Bank in 2007, traces its roots to Pitman Savings & Loan Association, started in 1903, and Alcyon Building & Loan Association, circa 1921.

Like many small banks, GCF has struggled since the financial crisis and shrunk. With assets down from a peak of $428.6 million in 2008, the bank has returned to the size it was in 2005.


Contact Mike Armstrong at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or @PhillyInc on Twitter. Read his blog, "PhillyInc," at www.phillyinc.biz.

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