Bloomberg News

PORTLAND, Maine - Banknorth Group Inc., the largest banking company by deposit share in Maine and New Hampshire, has agreed to buy the closely held Palmer Goodell Insurance Agency Inc.

Palmer Goodell, with an office in Springfield, Mass., is to become part of the company's Morse, Payson & Noyes Insurance unit. Morse, Payson & Noyes, with more than $180 million of annual revenue, was New England's largest independently owned insurance agency when Banknorth bought it in October 1997.

Banknorth plans to offer insurance products to its customers in western Massachusetts, where Springfield is. The agency is to operate under its own name and the same management.

Palmer Goodell specializes in employee payroll deduction programs and disability management services for schools and nonprofit groups. Its annual revenue exceeds $75 million. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

In May Peoples Heritage Financial Group Inc. bought Banknorth of Burlington, Vt., took its name, and kept the corporate headquarters in Portland. The company has 221 branches in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and upstate New York.

In Massachusetts it goes by the name First Massachusetts Bank, having previously bought SIS Bank of Springfield and Family Bank of Haverhill.

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