Century Bancorp, the holding company of Century Bank, continued to increase commercial and industrial lending, while also reporting double-digit income growth in the third quarter of this year.

The merger of Eastern Bank and Century Bank later this year will result in 17 branch closings, and each bank will lose nearly an equal number of locations.

The Greater Boston area will see nine Eastern Bank and eight Century Bank locations close after Boston-based Eastern acquires the Medford-based Century.

Eastern Bank CEO and Chairman Bob Rivers told Banker & Tradesman that the banks did not set out with a goal of splitting the closings between Eastern and Century. The two banks approached the consolidation as any bank would when looking at closing branches, Rivers said, taking into consideration factors including whether branches were leased or owned, whether they had a drive-up window, where they were located, and which office would best serve customers.

Rivers said Eastern is balancing the expense reductions that branch closings will bring following the merger with the needs of customers.

“If you lose too many customers, you’ve kind of wiped out any savings you would have had,” Rivers said. “We always have to be mindful of that first and foremost.”

Rivers said that the branches are near enough to another Eastern or Century branch that he expects to lose few customers as a result of the consolidation, adding that digital tools have made distance from a branch less important.

The closings include three of Century’s Boston branches on State, Federal and Boylston streets, and Eastern and Century will each close a Medford location.

Eastern will not pull out of any town or city as a result of the consolidation, Rivers said, adding that the bank will keep 21 Century locations and enter eight new markets through the acquisition. The combined bank will have about 100 branches in Eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire. None of the New Hampshire branches, including Century’s new Salem location, are affected by the consolidation.

Eastern Bank has found positions for about 90 percent of the staff working in the branches being consolidated. With about four months before the merger’s expected completion in mid-November, Rivers said he has a high degree of confidence that the branch consolidation will not result in any layoffs.

Rivers said layoffs from other areas of the bank will be inevitable, including in senior roles, but he does not yet know how many layoffs to expect.

“We acquired this company because it’s a great company, has a great culture, and they have great people,” Rivers said. “And it’s in our best interest to have as many on our team as we can.”

With Greater Boston seeing multiple mergers and branch closures this year, community organizations are concerned about reduced lending. Rivers said future lending would be at least as strong as what each bank has done individually, and likely even greater. He pointed to Eastern’s longstanding role as New England’s top U.S. Small Business Administration lender.

“That culture and commitment from Eastern combined with the team at Century will only further it to an even greater degree,” Rivers said. “So, I think this is a case where one-plus-one equals three.”

The nine Eastern locations are slated to shut down between January and March next year. The eight Century locations are expected to close Nov. 12 if the merger is completed by then, according to Century Bank’s website.

The following Eastern Bank branches will close:

  • 1255 Centre St., Newton
  • 301 Harvard St., Brookline
  • 250 Elm St., Somerville
  • 53 Locust St., Medford
  • 130 Pleasant St., Malden
  • 139 Washington St., Salem
  • 81 Bridge St., Beverly
  • 43 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington
  • 60 Main St., Andover

These Century Bank branches will close:

  • 136 State St., Boston
  • 24 Federal St., Boston
  • 437 Boylston St., Boston
  • 1184 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill
  • 1 Salem St., Medford
  • 2 State St., Lynn
  • 12 Peabody Square, Peabody
  • 651 Hancock St., Quincy

These 17 closings mean Greater Boston will lose 35 branches from the two mergers involving four of the largest Massachusetts-based banks. Rockland Trust last month announced that its merger with East Boston Savings Bank would result in 18 branch closings, including 16 of East Boston Savings Bank’s locations.

Eastern Bank Plans to Close 17 Branches With Century Merger

by Diane McLaughlin time to read: 3 min