Investors is buying eight N.J./Pa. branches from Berkshire

Investors Bancorp Inc. announced this week that it is purchasing eight Berkshire Bank branches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania from Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc.

The parent of Investors Bank, based in Short Hills, said it has signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire the branches, giving it about 8,000 new customers and nearly doubling its market share in the Trenton area.

“This is a good opportunity to strengthen our central New Jersey deposit franchise and reduce higher-cost wholesale funding,” Investors Chairman and CEO Kevin Cummings said in a prepared statement. “We are also pleased to expand our branch footprint and add two branches in affluent Pennsylvania markets.”

Six of the branches are in New Jersey and two in Pennsylvania.

Investors said it will pay a 3% deposit premium on deposits acquired at close, as well as alter its wholesale borrowing portfolio and ratios.

“This is a low-risk, in-market transaction with a minimal impact on capital levels,” Cummings said. “And, given the improved economic outlook and our strong tangible capital levels, we have decided to resume repurchasing our shares.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2021, subject to customary approvals and conditions.

Berkshire Bank is based in Boston.

For Investors, Lazard acted as financial adviser and McCarter & English LLP acted as legal counsel. For Berkshire, Piper Sandler & Co. was financial adviser, while Luse Gorman P.C. was legal counsel.