For Evans Bancorp Inc. of Hamburg, N.Y., which has its eye on growth, owning its technology is better than renting it.
The $503 million-asset Evans said Wednesday that it has acquired Suchak Data Systems Inc. of Grand Island, which had been handling its core processing work.
David J. Nasca, Evans' president and chief executive officer, said in an interview that Suchak Data was "a strategic asset" his company wanted. "Everything we do is technology-related. We thought it was important to control our own destiny."
The two companies had "a hybrid outsourcing arrangement" for some time, Mr. Nasca said; Suchak Data managed Evans' core processing and online banking systems, check imaging, item processing, and automated teller machine services, while Evans provided the vendor with telecommunication services and some information-technology project work.
Vinod Suchak, the president and CEO of Suchak Data, has become a vice president of Evans and the managing director of its data center services unit.
Mr. Nasca said Suchak Data's 10 employees will continue to operate from its Grand Island facility. "We will eventually integrate them into the bank's IT shop."
Suchak Data also provides services to a handful of other institutions, including the $176 million-asset Bank of Akron in New York, the $358 million-asset Lake Shore Bancorp Inc., and the $492 million-asset Somerset Trust Co., a unit of PNC Financial Services Group Inc.
Those customers are on two-year contracts, Mr. Nasca said. "The revenues that are coming in from the other clients also help support the strategic goals of this operation for the next couple of years."
Mr. Nasca, a former executive at First Niagara Financial Group Inc. of Lockport, N.Y., joined Evans in September 2006. He said his goal is to raise its assets to $1 billion over the next three to five years.
The company's Evans Bank ended 2007 with $424 million of assets, and he said he expects to report it ended 2008 with $80 million to $100 million more. "We had maybe a record year," he said.
Evans' competitors include M&T Bank Corp. of Buffalo, First Niagara, HSBC North America Holdings Inc. and KeyCorp, Mr. Nasca said. "It's a very competitive environment, but they're mostly bigger banks."
Last month Evans decided not to accept $11.9 million from the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program, he said.
Evans Bank is highly capitalized already, with an equity-to-asset ratio of 12% to 13%, and the government infusion would have pushed that figure toward 15%, he said. Tarp rules would have put restrictions on dividend increases — "Our dividend is important to us," Mr. Nasca said — and would have pushed down the return on equity.
"We think ROE is going to come back into vogue at some point," he said. "It's a good time to be a community bank."