New York mutual plans second-step conversion

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A New York mutual with thinning capital ratios and an uneven record of profitability is planning a second-step conversion.

Seneca-Cayuga Bancorp, the parent of the 150-year-old Generations Bank, said in a press release Wednesday that its midtier holding company, Seneca Falls Savings Bank, would sell its 60% stake. The move will make Seneca-Cayuga a fully stock-traded company.

“We feel a second-step transaction is the best way to serve the interests of our stockholders, customers and community in today’s challenging banking environment,” Menzo Case, the company's president and CEO, said in the release.

Plans for the second step were underway before the coronavirus pandemic hit, said Michael Reed, the company's marketing director.

“By the time the [stock sale] is actually complete, we’re hoping the economy is in recovery,” Reed said. “We can’t get the growth we want with the capital we have."

The $349 million-asset Seneca-Cayuga completed its first-step conversion in March 2000. Generations was founded as Seneca Falls Savings Bank in 1870; it adopted its current name in 2012.

Seneca-Cayuga’s profitability peaked in 2013, when it earned $2.4 million.

The company lost $214,000 in the first quarter after earning $87,000 last year.

Generations' core capital ratio has fallen from 9.78% at the end of 2013 to 8.20% earlier this year.

The company has been participating in the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program. In a letter to shareholders reporting first-quarter results, Seneca-Cayuga said it made more than 170 Paycheck Protection loans for $6.4 million. The bank is continuing to process PPP loans, Reed said.

Seneca-Cayuga bought the $55 million-asset Medina Savings and Loan Association in October 2018. In December 2018, it opened Generations Commercial Bank to provide services to municipalities. Pursuing a separate charter for the commercial bank was necessary because mutuals in New York are prohibited from working with municipalities.

Generations Commercial Bank had $43.6 million in deposits on Dec. 31, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Stilwell Group, a well-known activist investors, owns a 9.9% stake in Seneca-Cayuga.

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