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Sunapee Bank Buys Randolph National

Newport — Lake Sunapee Bank is buying Randolph National Bank for $14.4 million in stock, the two banks announced last week.

Following the merger, which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter, Lake Sunapee will have $1.45 billion in assets and 38 locations in Vermont and New Hampshire, a news release said.

The Randolph National Bank has offices in Randolph, Rochester, Royalton, South Royalton, Williamstown and Quechee and $170 million in assets.

Under the merger, shareholders of Randolph’s parent company, Central Financial Corp., will receive 8,699 shares of common stock in New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Lake Sunapee’s parent company, based on the 10-day closing average. The stock was trading for $13.01 a share Friday on the NASDAQ exchange with a volume of 2,300 shares. The stock’s high this year was in March when it hit $13.30 a share.

“When an opportunity arises like this one, we have to take advantage of it,” Lake Sunapee President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen R. Theroux said Friday. “This is a very good bank with that is similar to ours, that is financially sound and has a long history — 130 years — of serving its community.

“The merger puts $170 million under our books and rounds out our Vermont presence with eight new locations,” Theroux said.

Lake Sunapee won’t close any of the Randolph branches and plans to continue expanding in Vermont, he said.

“For Randolph customers they will have a bank that is similar to Randolph with more and expanded services. It’s a nice partnership.”

The merger is contingent on regulatory approval and the OK of the shareholders of Central Financial Corp. Once the sale is completed, the Randolph Bank branches will become Lake Sunapee banks.

“Not only do New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares and Lake Sunapee share our focus on customer service and community and community banking, but they have a proven track record of integrating other community banks like ours into their franchise,” Central Financial Corp. President and CEO Steven H. Dimick said in the release.

The Randolph National Bank was originally chartered as The National Bank of West Randolph in 1875 and established by local investors to serve the region dominated by agriculture, forestry, railroads and manufacturing. The bank has continued to grow and now has eight offices and nine ATMs.

Lake Sunapee has a similar background, starting as the Newport Savings Bank in 1868 in Newport. The bank now has more than 300 employees and 22 locations in New Hampshire in Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Sullivan counties as well as eight locations in Vermont in Rutland and Windsor counties. As of Dec. 31, 2012, the bank had total assets of $1.3 billion with a market capitalization of approximately $93 million.

In addition to Randolph, Lake Sunapee announced earlier this year plans to purchase the remaining 50 percent of Charter Holding Co., which it currently does not own. The trust and investment company is based in Concord and has seven offices across New Hampshire and $1.5 billion of assets under management.

The acquisition of the Randolph bank is the eighth for Lake Sunapee since 1996. Others include the Nashua Bank, Woodstock’s First Community Bank, First Brandon, Vt., Bank, New London Trust, Landmark Bank, McCrillis & Eldredge Insurance and half of Charter Holding Co. Dimick could not be reached for further comment Friday afternoon.

Warren Johnston can be reached at wjohnston@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.