New Jersey-based First Choice Loan Services Inc. and Boston-based Berkshire Bank Home Lending will merge their mortgage lending platforms by the end of this month.

The announcement follows Berkshire’s acquisition of First Choice Bank, the former parent company of First Choice Loan Services, in June 2016, which was finalized at the end of that same year.

President of First Choice Loan Services and Executive Vice President of Berkshire Bank Home Lending Al Costello said in a statement he is thrilled to see the two teams come together.

“It’s exciting to see the combination of these two home lending teams who are so well matched in every way come together,” he said in a statement. “From their core values to business processes and philosophies to their company cultures, they will do incredible things as one team. The synergy that is in the works shows amazing opportunities and possibilities for the future. With this one relationship of Berkshire Bank Home Lending and First Choice Loan Services, we are setting high goals for ourselves that before would have just been dreams. We know with our combined professional histories and experiences, we are going to accomplish outstanding things in the mortgage industry nationwide.”

For the acquisition of First Choice, Berkshire issued approximately 4.4 million common shares as merger consideration in the stock for stock exchange detailed in the merger agreement. The total stock consideration is valued at approximately $150 million.

Additionally, Berkshire paid cash totaling approximately $0.7 million to holders of First Choice options and warrants.

With the acquisition, Berkshire added eight bank branches in the areas of Princeton, New Jersey and Greater Philadelphia and approximately $1 billion in assets.

With the merger, Berkshire increased its total loans to $6.6 billion. Of that number, roughly $2.67 billion were commercial real estate loans, roughly $1.85 billion were residential, $1.15 billion commercial and industrial and $985 million in consumer loans.

First Choice Loan Services Senior Executive Vice President and COO Norman T. Koenigsberg said he looks forward to this new chapter for the mortgage companies.

“Having started First Choice Loan Services, it’s been remarkable to see the growth since day one,” Koenigsberg said in a statement. “We keep setting new records in production and are honored to receive industry-wide recognitions and acknowledgments. We’ve achieved our goals and then some, and I’m excited to look ahead into an even brighter future with Berkshire Bank Home Lending as a part of the same family.”

Koenigsberg added, “The best part of our joint teams is that we are now in a position to bring even greater strength and stability to the home loan process than before. We love that our professional family is growing, and we love even more how this will provide an even smoother mortgage journey for our home buyers, homeowners and business partners that we serve.”

The two companies are set to have all systems merged and fully integrated by July 28.

Berkshire Bank And First Choice Lending Platforms Merge

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 2 min