Sterling Bancorp, Astoria Financial agree to $2.2 billion merger

Joe Nikic

Montebello N.Y.-based Sterling Bancorp announced last Tuesday that it and Lake Success-based Astoria Financial Corp. have agreed to merge in a deal worth $2.2 billion.

According to Sterling Bancorp, once finalized, the deal “will create a high performing regional bank with a diversified business mix, serving the needs of business owners and consumers in the greater New York City metropolitan area.”

“By joining forces, Astoria and Sterling will create one of the leading banking enterprises in the NYC metropolitan area and will be well positioned to deliver performance and value for our customers, shareholders, employees and communities,” said Jack L. Kopnisky, president and CEO of Sterling Bancorp. “We are excited about the opportunity to bring together two companies with extremely complementary strengths, providing a platform to extend Sterling’s business banking solutions across a substantially larger market area, while introducing Astoria’s retail products to a wider financial center network.”

“Our goal is to build on these strengths to provide exceptional solutions to our combined customer base, while driving best-in-class financial performance by taking advantage of our enhanced scale, opportunities for growth and operating efficiency,” Kopnisky added. “Execution is always key to the success of such a transformative acquisition. We are confident in the proven integration skills of our Sterling team and the talent and professionalism of Astoria’s associates.”

Astoria Financial, the parent company of Astoria Bank, previously had a deal to merge with Westbury-based New York Community Bancorp Inc., but in December the deal was officially called off.

New York Community Bancorp, in a statement on Nov. 9, said based on discussions with regulators, it did not expect to receive the approvals required to consummate the proposed merger by the end of 2016.

Both companies could terminate the agreement without any penalty if the merger didn’t happen by Dec. 31.

“We are very pleased to be merging with Sterling Bancorp,” said Monte N. Redman, president and Chief Executive Officer of Astoria Financial. “Astoria Bank’s strong presence in attractive markets should provide Sterling with an ideal platform from which to continue executing on their differentiated, team-based commercial relationship model.”

“Combining our significant strengths will create a strong regional bank that will provide exceptional value for our investors while maintaining our strong commitment to our customers and the communities we serve,” Redman added.

Sterling Bancorp said it expects the deal to be finalized by the end of the year.

Kopnisky will remain the company’s president and CEO, while Luis Massiani will remain its chief financial officer, the company said. Four members of Astoria Financial’s Board of Directors will join the company’s new Board of Directors once the deal is finalized.

When the merger is complete, Sterling Bancorp said, the company will have $29 billion in assets, $20 billion in loans and $19 billion in deposits.

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