Columbia Bank, Atlantic Stewardship Bank to merge in $137M deal

Columbia Financial Inc., the holding company for Fair Lawn-based Columbia Bank, and Stewardship Financial Corp., the holding company for Midland Park-based Atlantic Stewardship Bank, announced Friday they are to merge in a deal valued at $137 million.

Under terms of the merger, Atlantic Stewardship Bank will merge into Columbia Bank and Stewardship shareholders will receive $15.75 for each share of common stock they own.

“We are pleased to announce the strategic combination of the two banks, both of which are strong community banks dedicated to serving their local communities. Our companies share common values with a strong culture focused on relationships and serving our communities, making this combination a perfect partnership. We greatly admire the philanthropic support Stewardship provides through its tithing program and the Columbia Bank Foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in New Jersey, is proud to continue various aspects of Stewardship’s charitable mission. We believe the merger represents a significant step toward profitably deploying capital we raised in our public offering and is a great fit with our growth plan,” Thomas J. Kemly, CEO and president, Columbia, said.

“We are excited about the combination  with Columbia Bank and the amazing opportunities this presents to our customers and the community through an expanded platform with greater financial resources. Columbia has a history of delivering quality, competitive financial services and a positive customer experience along with making a difference in the communities we serve. These shared philosophies make the blending of our two companies the faithful evolution for Atlantic Stewardship Bank,” Paul Van Ostenbridge, CEO and president, Stewardship, said.

Once the merger has finalized, Van Ostenbridge will join the board of directors of both Columbia Financial and Columbia Bank. The Columbia Bank Foundation will select a member to serve on Stewardship’s board of directors.

Boenning & Scattergood Inc. served as the financial advisor and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP served as the legal advisor to Columbia in the deal. Sandler O’Neill + Partners L.P. served as the financial advisor and McCarter & English LLP served as the legal advisor to Stewardship.