You rarely hear bankers praise competitors, especially when it comes to M&A prowess. Still, Stewart McClure, the president and chief executive of Somerset Hills (SOMH) Bancorp in Bernardsville, N.J., recently saluted Kevin Cummings, the CEO of Investors Bancorp(ISBC) in Short Hills, N.J.
Somerset Hills' home turf consists of Morris, Somerset and Union counties, where it had six branches and $305 million in deposits at June 30, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Investors had 24 branches and more than $2 billion in deposits in those counties in mid-2012.
Cummings "has done a fantastic job with his franchise," McClure said when asked about acquisitive companies in New Jersey. "You will certainly see people who are good at acquisitions like him look for more opportunities."
Somerset Hills last week agreed to sell to Lakeland Bancorp (LBAI) in Oak Ridge, N.J. Meanwhile, Investors has been an aggressive acquirer in recent months, agreeing to buy Roma Financial in Robbinsville, N.J., and Marathon National Bank in New York.
Who knew New Jersey banking was such a lovefest? Last fall Domenick Cama, the chief operating officer of Investors, introduced Christopher Martin, the chairman and chief executive of Provident Financial Services (PFS) in Jersey City, at an American Jewish Committee of New Jersey benefit. Cama said then that he and Martin have been friends and golfing buddies for more than two decades and Martin asked him to do the honor of introducing him; Cummings also praised Provident at that time as "a great bank."