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BOYERTOWN, PA-Bank mergers and acquisitions throughout the eastern half of the state continue unabated. Locally based National Penn Bancshares acquired Peoples Bank of Oxford (PA) from Peoples First for approximately $148 million in a stock and cash transaction. This follows by 10 days, National Penn’s acquisition of HomeTowne Heritage Bank, which is based in Intercourse, PA.

Peoples First operates eight branches in Chester and Lancaster counties and one in Cecil County, MD. “This is a key acquisition for us,” says Wayne R. Weidner, chairman and CEO of National Penn, “because it helps us to expand our presence in southern Chester County and represents our first expansion into Maryland. It also allows us to immediately build upon our newly acquired HomeTowne Heritage franchise in Lancaster County.”

HomeTowne operates three branches in Lancaster County. Of that acquisition, Glenn E. Moyer, National Penn’s president, says, “(it) will provide us an excellent opportunity to increase market share in Lancaster County.”

Both Peoples and HomeTowne Heritage will retain their names and operate as divisions of National Penn. In addition, HomeTowne will expand to include National Penn’s existing office in New Holland, PA, and more HomeTowne branches in Lancaster County are planned, according to Moyer. Following both acquisitions, National Penn’s assets reach $4 billion and it becomes the fourth largest bank holding company in the state. It will operate 74 locations in Pennsylvania and one in Maryland under its National Penn Bank, FirstService, HomeTowne Heritage and Peoples’ divisions.

Meanwhile, also this month Lititz, PA-based Susquehanna Bancshares announced an agreement to acquire Patriot Bank Corp., a 20-branch company based in Pottstown, PA.

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