Associated closing 17 Wisconsin branches

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Associated Banc-Corp in Green Bay, Wis., will close 17 branches as part of its recent purchase of Huntington Bancshares’ Wisconsin operations.

Associated will fold 11 Huntington branches and two Associated branches into existing Associated Bank locations, and four Associated branches into branches acquired from Huntington, according to an application filed with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Wednesday.

Associated did not comment directly on whether it intended to eliminate any branch staff as part of the closures.

“Due to Associated’s strong presence in Wisconsin, we anticipate opportunities for employees of both organizations to contribute to the franchise over the long term,” a company spokeswoman told American Banker by email. “We typically have around 300 job openings at any given time. We hope to fill these with banking professionals already serving our combined customers and communities.”

The $33 billion-asset Associated announced in December that it would buy 32 branches in Wisconsin, including $134 million in loans and $850 million in deposits, from the Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington.

Huntington first bought those Wisconsin branches in 2016 when it acquired FirstMerit. When the deal with Associated was announced, the $106 billion-asset Huntington said that it would keep its national consumer and commercial businesses in that state, including its Small Business Administration operations.

Associated said it would pay a 4% deposit premium, or about $34 million in cash, for the branches and would gain about 60,000 deposit accounts, including 33,000 households. The company said it expects the purchase to be 2% accretive to its earnings in 2020 and that it should earn back the 1.5% dilution to its tangible book value in four years.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

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