HAWTHORNE, N.Y. - The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency approved the acquisition of Peoples Westchester Savings Bank by First Fidelity Bancorp., Lawrenceville, N.J.

The transaction, which has been approved by Peoples Westchester shareholders, is expected to close on Dec. 30.

Peoples Westchester shareholders will elect to receive either cash or First Fidelity stock in exchange for their shares. The exchange ratio and cash amount will be based on the average closing price of First Fidelity shares during a 10-day period before the effective date of the acquisition.

Peoples Westchester, based in Hawthorne, has assets of $1.7 billion and deposits of $1.4 billion. With the acquisition, First Fidelity's New York subsidiary will have 40 offices, $2.5 billion of assets, and a 12% deposit share in Westchester County.

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