Last updated: November 20. 2013 9:18PM - 1838 Views
ANDREW M. SEDER aseder@timesleader.com



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There’s an agreement in place for Plains Township-based Franklin Security Bancorp to be acquired by the parent company of ESSA Bank & Trust for approximately $15.7 million in an all-cash deal.


Franklin Security has two banks, one at 139 Wyoming Ave. in Scranton and one on Route 315 in Plains Township, with assets of $225.65 million as of Sept. 30, total loans of $148.88 million and total deposits of $168.25 million.


Pending the receipt of all regulatory approvals and the approval of stockholders of Franklin Security Bancorp, the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014. Part of the agreement allows either party to terminate the transaction if it has not closed by July 31.


ESSA Bank & Trust, based in East Stroudsburg, has assets of $1.37 billion, and has 26 offices throughout the Poconos and Lehigh Valley.


Richard F. Mebane, president and CEO of Franklin Security Bank, will remain with the company serving as ESSA Bank & Trust’s market president for the greater Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region once the deal is finalized.


“We are excited to join forces with a larger financial institution with ESSA’s rich tradition of serving Northeast Pennsylvania. We are confident this merger will benefit our customers and the communities we serve,” Mebane said. “We look forward to expanding product and service offerings to customers in our markets, and to leverage Franklin’s commercial and auto lending expertise to enhance ESSA’s overall banking platform.”


Gary S. Olson, president and CEO of ESSA Bank & Trust, said the merger gives ESSA the ability to expand its banking presence “northward to an adjacent regional market.”


“As a small business oriented community bank, Franklin Security Bank has had particular success in rolling out products such as remote check deposit capture, and we look forward to leveraging their capabilities,” Olson said.


Franklin Security Bancorp was established in 1999 as a subsidiary of Guard Financial Group and then acquired in 2007 by a group of investors with local ties to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. It has grown to serve more than 15,000 customers.


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