First Union Corp., which aims to offer insurance in all areas where it does business, has taken a step toward achieving that goal.
The Charlotte, N.C., banking company announced Monday that it has an agreement to buy Tribus Cos., an independent agency in Wayne, N.J.
Tribus, which serves commercial and employee benefits clients in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, will join with First Union Insurance Group's Mid-Atlantic Agency, formerly known as Taylor & Clark, as an entity to be named Tribus First Union Insurance Services.
First Union did not disclose financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close within the next few weeks.
First Union's Mid- Atlantic Agency has operations in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington, with a concentration in northern Virginia and Washington, said Tony Fenton, a First Union senior vice president and managing director who is to become vice chairman and chief operating officer at Tribus First Union.
Donald Tribus, who founded Tribus in 1967, will be vice chairman and president, and. Tribus' current chief executive officer, John Petillo, would be Nnortheast regional president.
First Union's insurance operation and Tribus have similar customer bases, so the deal should provide extensive cross-selling opportunities, Mr. Fenton said in an interview.
"We're really focusing on lines of business that are complementary and core to First Union, and all of these lines of business that we feel have an opportunity to grow," he said.
Mr. Tribus said it will be his responsibility to build First Union's retail commercial insurance and employee benefits businesses.
"We will be acquiring other agencies eventually," he said.
The other states where First Union has bank branches are Connecticut, Delaware, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.In addition to the mid-Atlantic region, which already has insurance operations, and the three states added by Tribus, First Union has branches in Connecticut, Delaware, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.
Tribus, which had revenues of $24 million last year, offers a wide range of services, from employee benefits to property and casualty insurance, 401(k), human resources software, and estate and business life insurance planning. Clients include individuals, small to midsize employers, and large corporations. The firm has about 200 employees and offices in Wayne, Jamesburg, and Shrewsbury, N.J.
Mr. Tribus is to report to Donald McMullen, vice chairman of First Union Corp. and head of First Union's capital management group. Mr. McMullen said in a statement that all of First Union's main businesses should benefit from the Tribus addition.
"Tribus' customers directly align with First Union's corporate customer profile, creating tremendous cross-selling opportunities," he said. "We said we would consider acquisitions if we're able to acquire industry scale, show strong growth potential, and meet clients' needs better with the highest level of customer service. Tribus fits our focus to a 'T.'"