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"ENVY OF MANY': ONE BANCORP SURVIVES RED-TAPE TANGLE TO ACQUIRE HARTFORD BANK
When Maine welcomed interstate banking in 1983, out-of-state players such as Norstar Bancorp Inc. of Albany, N.Y., and Bank of Boston Corp. lost no time capitalizing on the situation by snapping up Down East banks. In February, Maine's largest bank, the $1.3 billion One Bancorp in Portland, turned the tables by going out of state to buy Bank of Hartford in Connecticut, a $300 million savings and loan association, for $20 million in cash.
The acquired bank will operate autonomously under the name The One/ Bank of Hartford. "We won't run the bank from Portland,' says One Bancorp CEO Robert R. Masterton.
To complete the deal and the conversion of Bank of Hartford from a mutual S&L to a capital-stock savings bank, One Bancorp also made an $11 million stock offering. Bank of Hartford's depositors had the first chance to buy One Bancorp stock in February at $20.625 a share. For One Bancorp shareholders, dilution wasn't a concern; on the contrary, Bank of Hartford's profits added to earnings per share.
Although Bank of Hartford was cash needy, observers say that for its $20 million injection of capital, One Bancorp secured a valuable …