Provident, Lakeland to Merge

Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE: PFS) the parent company of Provident Bank, and Lakeland Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: LBAI), the parent company of Lakeland Bank, today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which the companies will combine in an all-stock merger, valued at approximately $1.3 billion.

The merger combines two complementary banking platforms to create New Jersey’s preeminent super-community bank. The combined company will have more than $25 billion in assets and $20 billion in total deposits.

“We are excited to announce this transformational combination of two amazing organizations. The scale and profitability of the combined organization will enable us to invest in the future, better compete for market share, and better serve our customers and communities.

“We bring together a diverse group of employees who are committed to delivering exceptional service to our customers and the communities we serve,” said Anthony Labozzetta, President and Chief Executive Officer of Provident. “It is particularly gratifying to embark on this journey with our colleagues on the Lakeland team and Tom Shara, whom we have held in high regard for many years.”

“As two of New Jersey’s most respected banks that nearly mirror each other in our shared cultures and missions to support and deliver to our customers, communities and shareholders, we are thrilled that we’re combining our talented teams,” said Thomas J. Shara, Lakeland’s President and CEO.

PFS shares faded $2.01, or 8.7%, to $21.15, on the news, while those for LBAI shot higher 66 cents, or 4.1%, to $16.95.