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Provident Financial Services Completes Merger with Lakeland Bancorp, Names Executive Leadership

May 17, 2024, 07:43 AM
Filed Under: Banking News

Provident Financial Services announced that its merger with Lakeland Bancorp was completed, creating the premier super community banking franchise in the region. The merger of Lakeland Bank with and into Provident Bank has also been completed. In accordance with the Agreement and Plan of Merger dated as of September 26, 2022, as amended (the “Merger Agreement”), at the close of the transaction Lakeland shareholders have the right to receive 0.8319 of a share of Provident common stock for each share of Lakeland common stock they owned immediately prior to the effective time of the merger, along with cash in lieu of fractional shares. Following the closing, Provident shareholders own 58% and Lakeland shareholders will own 42% of the combined company.

On a pro forma basis, the combined company will have approximately $24.5 billion of assets, $18.8 billion of loans, deposits of $18.6 billion, and total stockholders’ equity of $2.3 billion. The combined company will operate under the “Provident Financial Services, Inc.” name and the combined bank will operate under the “Provident Bank” name and will operate 140 branches across New Jersey and parts of New York and Pennsylvania.

The combined organization is strategically positioned to benefit from a diverse revenue and earnings stream; an expansive retail banking network; strong positions in several lines of business, including commercial real estate, residential mortgage origination, asset-based lending, and equipment lease financing; along with a robust commercial banking platform. The combined company will also benefit from two fee-based business lines with its Beacon Trust wealth management subsidiary and Provident Protection Plus insurance subsidiary.

Commenting on the completion of the merger, Anthony Labozzetta, President and CEO said, “We are extremely pleased and excited to announce the completion of our merger with Lakeland. The merger creates a company with significant scale and capabilities with a strong capital base and low credit risk profile. In Lakeland we found a like-minded partner that shares our vision, values, and commitment to our employees, customers, shareholders, and communities.”

“Our employees will benefit from greater opportunities and resources that a bank with nearly $25 billion in assets possesses, customers will benefit by having access to a wider array of products and services driven by enhanced technology, and our communities will benefit from our commitment to helping those in need, which dates back to 1839. More importantly, the entire organization benefits from having a dynamic and experienced executive leadership team selected from both companies. I am delighted to welcome Lakeland's team members to Provident.”

Thomas J. Shara, Executive Vice Chairman and Lakeland’s former President and CEO, added, “Our merger with Provident Bank presents new opportunities for expansion, innovation and excellence. Our long-standing commitment to serving our customers and communities will remain unwavering as we build upon our combined strengths and focus on the future together as one united team.” In connection with the closing of the merger, Provident and Provident Bank appointed five new directors to their Boards of Directors, who are all former directors of Lakeland:

  • Thomas J. Shara, former President and Chief Executive Officer, will serve as Executive Vice Chairman
  •  Brian M. Flynn, partner at PKF O’Connor Davies, LLP
  • Brian A. Gragnolati, President and CEO of Atlantic Health System
  • James E. Hanson II, President and CEO of The Hampshire Companies
  • Robert E. McCracken, President of Smith-McCracken Funeral Home and Wood Funeral Home

In conjunction with the closing of the merger, Terence Gallagher and Robert McNerney have retired from the Boards of Directors of Provident and Provident Bank. With these changes, Provident and Provident Bank’s Boards of Directors each will be comprised of 14 members.

“The company is privileged to add these five directors to its Board,” said Christopher Martin, Executive Chairman. “Each brings a unique set of skills and expertise to an already impressive and diverse Board. I would also like to thank Terry Gallagher and Bob McNerney for their dedicated service to our company. I know I speak for the entire Board when I say that their advice and business acumen have proved invaluable to our organization.”

In addition to Mr. Labozzetta and Mr. Shara, the company also formally named the other members of its executive leadership team:

  • Thomas Lyons, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • James Christy, Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer
  • Joseph Covell, Senior Vice President and General Auditor
  • Vito Giannola, Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer
  • George Lista, President and CEO, Provident Protection Plus, Inc.
  • Bennett MacDougall, Executive Vice President and General Counsel
  • Timothy Matteson, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
  • Valerie Murray, Executive Vice President and Chief Wealth Management Officer
  • James Nigro, Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer
  • Carolyn Powell, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
  • John Rath, Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer
  • Ravi Vakacherla, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital and Innovation Officer

“When the merger was first announced, I stated that our executive leadership team would be drawn from the combined company’s deep talent pool,” said Mr. Labozzetta. “The exceptional team we have assembled reflects our commitment to bring together a diverse group of leaders who are committed to delivering an exceptional employee and customer experience, and honoring our long-standing commitment to the communities we serve,” added Mr. Labozzetta.

Until the systems conversion, which is scheduled for early September of 2024, the Provident and Lakeland retail banking networks will continue to operate separately under their respective brands. Customers of both banks will not experience any immediate changes to their accounts, loan payments, use of debit cards, access to ATMs, or access to account information, either on-line or through mobile-banking applications.

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