state, San Francisco-based First Nationwide Bank said it has agreed to sell four New Jersey branches and $510 million in deposits to Midlantic Corp. The sum was not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter. Three of the four branches are located in Union County and one in Hudson County. Edison, N.J.-based Midlantic is scheduled to merge with PNC Bank Corp., Pittsburgh, on Dec. 31. Midlantic chairman Gary J. Scheuring said the branch deal with First Nationwide would "strengthen Midlantic's competitive position in several attractive New Jersey markets." First Nationwide, a federally licensed thrift, has been steadily selling off its branches outside California to fund acquisitions in its home state. In September, First Nationwide agreed to sell 10 Long Island branches with $590 million in deposits to North Fork Bancorp., Melville, N.Y. The price equals 6.35% of deposits, or around $37.5 million. At the same time, the thrift agreed to sell 28 branches with $1.4 billion in deposits in Ohio to Fifth Third Bancorp, Cincinnati. Last month, the bank sold eight branches in upstate New York, with some $493 million in deposits, to MSB Bancorp, Goshen. MSB agreed to pay 8% of deposits, or approximately $39.4 million, for the branches. Barely a week later, First Nationwide signed a definitive agreement to sell three Brooklyn, N.Y., branches with around $325 million in deposits to Brooklyn based-Independence Savings Bank. Finally, in late October, the California thrift agreed to sell three Manhattan branches with $227.5 million in deposits to Republic New York Corp. A First Nationwide spokeswoman declined to comment on other possible sales. First Nationwide had $8.65 billion in deposits as of Oct. 31. The thrift still has branches and deposits outside California, including 24 branches in Florida with $1.4 billion in deposits, 21 branches in Michigan with $765.4 million in deposits, and four branches in Texas with deposits of $93.5 million. In First Nationwide's largest California-based deal to date, the thrift agreed in August to acquire SFFed Corp., the holding company for $4.1 billion-asset San Francisco Federal Savings and Loan Association.
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