Fidelity Bank Chairman and CEO Edward F. Manzi Jr. (left) and Family Federal Savings President & CEO David R. Brassard

Another one of the state’s smallest banks is gone.

Leominster-based Fidelity Bank said in a statement released yesterday that it will merge with and absorb Fitchburg-based Family Federal Savings for an undisclosed amount.

With the roughly $98 million in assets and four branches from Family Federal Savings, the new entity will have approximately $1.05 billion in assets and 16 branches if none are eventually consolidated.

“Family Federal Savings has been serving the community for over 140 years. I have great respect for David Brassard, the board of directors, employees and management team,” Fidelity Bank’s Chairman and CEO Edward F. Manzi Jr. said in a statement. “We are proud to partner with such a like-minded institution and assure our long-standing, mutual commitments to the community continue.”

Manzi will continue as chairman of the board of directors and CEO of the merged institution. Fidelity’s current President and COO Christopher W. McCarthy will also continue in his role with the merged institution. Brassard will join the bank’s executive team as executive vice president and senior strategy officer as a member of the bank’s Strategic Innovation and Optimization Lab.

Family Federal Savings employees will also join the Fidelity Bank team, and two members of the Family Federal Savings board of directors will join the Fidelity Bank board of directors. Additionally, a group of Family Federal Savings directors and stakeholders will form an advisory board to help guide the bank through the transition and assure a successful outcome for their customers, employees and communities.

“This is a great opportunity for Family Federal Savings customers, employees, and communities,” Brassard said in a statement. “Merging with Fidelity Bank, one of the strongest independent local community banks in Massachusetts, will afford us the size and expertise to compete effectively in today’s competitive marketplace.”

Family Federal Savings hasn’t had any real asset growth since the end of 2011, according to the FDIC, although the bank has managed to stay profitable in all of those years except for 2017 when it reported a $10,000 loss on the year.

The bank was one of six state-chartered banks still under $100 million in assets after the first quarter of this year, a size that has gotten more obsolete as the cost of regulation and technology has increased, all while the competition for deposits has remained fierce.

There were 24 banks under $100 million in assets in Massachusetts at the end of 2010, according to the FDIC. By 2013, that number had dropped to 18. After this past year, there were only a handful left under $100 million, although the number varies because banks will go over and below the $100 million mark from quarter to quarter.

The merger is Fidelity’s second in the last three years. The bank merged with and absorbed Gardner-based Colonial Co-operative Bank in September 2017 to get to $870 million in assets.

The merger agreement has been approved by the boards of both banks, and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

Fidelity Bank to Merge With Fitchburg Mutual

by Bram Berkowitz time to read: 2 min