Fulton to Buy Skylands Financial Of New Jersey in $31M Stock Deal

Fulton Financial Corp. said late Wednesday that it has a deal to buy Skylands Financial Corp. of New Jersey for $31 million of stock.Skylands, which is based in Hackettstown, has $225 million of assets and eight branches in three counties. The deal, which is scheduled to close in the third quarter, is valued at 13.7 times the seller's earnings, and 2.01 times its book value.

Terms of the deal call for Skylands Community Bank to become the 12th banking subsidiary of Fulton, a $6.1 billion-asset company with banks in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. The company already has a bank in Easton, Pa., not far from Hackettstown.

- Louis Whiteman

Cullen/Frost to Merge the Charters Of Galveston, San Antonio Banks

Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. said it expects to merge the charter of United States National Bank of Galveston into its flagship subsidiary, Frost National Bank, by the end of the second quarter. Frost National, with 78 offices, and United States National, with two, have operated separately since Cullen/Frost bought the smaller bank in 1982.The $7 billion-asset San Antonio banking company decided to merge the charters to avoid spending thousands of dollars to build an Internet site for United States National when Frost Bank already has one, said Phil Green, Cullen/Frost's chief financial officer. He said the consolidation also should make it easier to offer other products such as cash management throughout the company's banking network.

Besides the Internet expense, Cullen/Frost expects to realize few cost savings from the charter consolidation because the banks' back offices were already consolidated, Mr. Green said.

- Craig Woker

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