Banker & Tradesman file photo

Rockland Trust Co. remains on track to complete the East Boston Savings Bank acquisition later this year, and the bank plans to continue to look for merger opportunities in the coming years.

During a conference call Friday to discuss second quarter earnings, Rockland Trust’s CEO Christopher Oddleifson said the bank has historically had acquisition opportunities every one-and-a-half to two years, adding that this activity has been important to the bank’s growth strategy.

“Past is prologue, and if another opportunity emerges, we would love to take advantage of it,” Oddleifson said.

In response to an analyst’s question, Oddleifson declined to name a target size for possible merger candidates. While not looking to acquire another bank the size East Boston Savings Bank, Oddleifson said future transactions would have to noticeably “move the needle” on the bank’s growth.

Rockland Trust had second quarter net income of $37.6 million, or $1.14 per diluted share, compared to net income of $41.7 million, or $1.26 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2021. Net income in the second quarter of 2020 was $24.9 million, or $0.76 per diluted share.

The bank said in its second quarter earnings statement that the results included $1.7 million in costs related to the acquisition of East Boston Savings Bank and its parent company, Meridian Bancorp.

“Our core fundamentals are strong and we are well-positioned to continue to take advantage of growth opportunities as the local economy continues to re-adjust post-pandemic,” Oddleifson said in the earnings statement. “We have been hard at work on our previously announced merger with Meridian Bancorp/East Boston Savings Bank and are excited about the possibilities the transaction represents for our future.”

The bank had total assets of $14.2 billion on June 30, an increase of $420.3 million, or 3.1 percent, from the first quarter, and $1.2 billion, or 9 percent, from the second quarter of 2020. The bank said in the earnings statement that the ongoing growth in deposits had led to increased liquid assets in the second quarter of 2021.

Deposit balances in the second quarter were $12 billion, up 3.4 percent from the first quarter. The bank said additional government stimulus payments and new account activity in its consumer and business products contributed to that growth. The cost of deposits did go down slightly, as a reduction in time deposit balances helped costs go down 7 basis points. The share of deposits considered core deposits increased to 91.6 percent in the second quarter.

Total loans in the second quarter decreased by $307.7 million, or 3.3 percent, compared to the first quarter. The bank attributed the decrease primarily to a net reduction in Paycheck Protection Program loan balances of $363.7 million, or 43.0 percent. Excluding PPP loan activity, the bank said its total loans increased $55.9 million. The bank’s total loans were $8.9 billion as of June 30.

Rockland Trust to Seek More M&A Opportunities

by Diane McLaughlin time to read: 2 min