It’s really a simple formula, according to David Sparks, Chairman of First Priority Bank.
“Quality plus quality equals entry into a crème-de-la-crème class of community banking,” he said.
In general terms, that describes the Malvern-based bank’s upcoming merger with Mid Penn Bank, a transaction slated to close in the third quarter of this year, assuming receipt of regulatory and shareholder approvals.
First Priority Bank has grown considerably since its launch in January 2006 as a financial institution that emphasizes and delivers fast and reliable service with excellent individual attention and customized solutions.
Through the years, First Priority has achieved an aggressive growth strategy that includes its acquisition of Prestige Community Bank, based in Bucks County, and Affinity Bank, based in Berks County. In August 2016, First Priority also acquired a $64 million loan and relationship portfolio, which significantly enhanced profitability. Today, with more than $610 million in assets, it operates seven branches and has a footprint in Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, and Berks counties.
For three years now, First Priority has been a publicly traded company on the OTCQX exchange.
And its merger with Mid Penn, a Central Pennsylvania-based bank with an additional presence in Pittsburgh, will be the catalyst for more growth.
“We’re pretty bullish on this,” said Sparks. “Mid Penn is a high-growth organization with strong financials, and they found that we were the perfect match for how they want to do business here in this market. With most mergers, you have name changes. We won’t have that. We’ll operate in the same manner, and support functions will be combined to increase efficiency.
“This is a case of two high-quality institutions with excellent financial strength joining together to create an even-stronger entity. The merger will strengthen our capital, increase our lending limits, and broaden our capabilities for our customers.”
Another important milestone in First Priority’s history will occur in early March. That’s when Sparks and his team will lift the curtain on a new branch in West Chester, located at 237 East Gay Street.
“We consistently review our geographic expansion opportunities and determined that West Chester was very attractive, especially when you consider the level of consolidation that has occurred not only in that market, but throughout the Delaware Valley during the last couple of years.
“West Chester represents the core of Chester County, and being downtown, it’s a tremendous opportunity for us. In addition to our branch, we will have a notable presence as we have several board members there, including our newest Director, Joel Frank, the Chairman/Managing Partner of Lamb McErlane.”
It’s a tremendous opportunity for the community as well.
First Priority’s West Chester branch will feature a community room, entitled the First Priority Room, that nonprofits and private groups will be able to use free of charge.
“We are fortunate to have a number of community and civic organizations as customers,” said Sparks. “We heard from many of them that it can be challenging to find reasonable space for events or meetings. When we were designing our branch, we felt it was important to include dedicated community space for many organizations to enjoy.”
The West Chester branch will be staffed by industry veterans who know and live in that market.
“We have top-notch, seasoned bankers with roots in Chester County,” said Sparks. “We think what we offer will be well received in West Chester.”