PeoplesBank and Cornerstone Bank Enter Definitive Merger Agreement

Following a unanimous vote from their boards, PeoplesBank and Cornerstone Bank have entered into a definitive agreement to combine their holding companies in a merger transaction.

While the merger agreement between PeoplesBancorp, MHC and SSB Community Bancorp MHC will unify holding companies, both banks will continue operating under separate names and brands for the foreseeable future.

After the completion of the merger, the new consolidated holding company for both banks will be PeoplesBancorp, MHC and have approximately $6 billion in assets. Thomas Senecal will remain as CEO and chairman and Todd Tallman will become president of the combined mutual holding company, PeoplesBancorp, MHC. Brian Canina will be the chief operating officer of the holding company and will remain president of PeoplesBank.

PeoplesBank, serving western Massachusetts, and Cornerstone Bank, serving central Massachusetts, will each continue their normal operations with no disruption to customers. All account information, branch banking and digital access will remain the same for both banks throughout the transaction.

“This merger of our holding companies will create more financial backing for each of our banks, ensuring the kind of sustained strength that our customers have relied on since our founding in 1885,” Tom Senecal, CEO and chairman of the board of PeoplesBank, said.

This partnership opens up both banks to future opportunities and market growth. The merger was unanimously approved by the boards of directors for both holding companies. Completion of the transition remains subject to approval by the corporators of PeoplesBancorp, MHC and SSB Community Bancorp, MHC, as well as regulatory approval. Closing is anticipated in the first quarter of 2025.

“We’re excited to be joining forces with another mutual bank serving its communities with the same kind of commitment we do,” Todd Tallman, CEO of Cornerstone Bank, said. “While customers won’t see any difference in their day-to-day banking experiences, this merger offers us more scalability and strength that we can build on in the future.”

Piper Sandler served as the financial advisor on this transaction. Luse Gorman served as legal counsel to PeoplesBancorp, MHC and Nutter McClennen & Fish served as legal counsel to SSB Community Bancorp, MHC.

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