Columbia Bank to Acquire Freehold Bank through Merger Agreement

Columbia Bank’s parent company has signed a merger agreement to acquire Freehold Bank, it announced this week.

Columbia Bank MHC, the mutual holding company that owns Columbia Financial Inc., has signed the definitive agreement with Freehold MHC, parent company of Freehold Bancorp, according to a press release. The deal would see Freehold merge with Columbia, convert to a federal savings bank, and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary.

Freehold Bank is headquartered and only branch in Freehold, where it has been in business for over 167 years. Columbia Bank is based at Fair Lawn.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to welcome Freehold Bank, its employees and customers to Columbia Bank,” Columbia CEO and President Thomas J. Kemly said in a statement. “The transaction will expand our presence in Monmouth County. As two community-minded banks, we pride ourselves on strengthening our local impact and supporting new markets.

Columbia has offered full employment to all Freehold employees and will add a member of its board of directors to Columbia’s board of directors following the merger.

“We are delighted to join Columbia Bank, a leading New Jersey-based bank with a common culture and values,” Freehold CEO and Chairman James H. Wainwright said in a statement. “The merger will offer our clients the opportunity to join a larger banking network, with expanded products and services, while employees will benefit from the opportunity to work for a growing community bank. The support of the Columbia Bank Foundation will be an asset to our local community and our charities. “

The transaction is subject to customary approvals and conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter. The full merger of the banks is expected to take place two years after the merger of the holding company.

Columbia was advised by Boenning & Scattergood Inc. and represented by Kilpatrick Towsend & Stockton LLP. Freehold was advised by FinPro Capital Advisors Inc. and represented by Stevens & Lee PC

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