With its upcoming purchase of a Connecticut savings bank, North Fork Bancorp is looking far beyond New England.
Branford Savings Bank would be the prototype for a deposit-gathering system that North Fork hopes to employ in other parts of the country, said John A. Kanas, the Long Island company's chairman.
The Mattituck, N.Y., company expects the deal to close in late November. North Fork agreed to pay $38 million for Branford Savings, which has $187 million of assets and five branches in the New Haven, Conn., area.
Branford Savings would try to attract customers by offering the highest deposit rates in its market area. The savings bank, which is to be run as a subsidiary of North Fork, would use telemarketing and mail solicitations.
North Fork, which has about $6 billion of assets, would use the proceeds to cheaply make bulk investments and lend to its New York customer base.
North Fork hopes to profit by investing a lot of money inexpensively, not by chasing investment yields, Mr. Kanas said.
He spoke this week at a merger, acquisition and strategic alliance conference in New York sponsored by American Banker and the Strategic Research Institute.
If the strategy works with Branford Savings, North Fork wants to establish similar deposit-gathering operations by buying savings banks in other parts of the country, Mr. Kanas said. The bank is eyeing growing, affluent areas like Florida. "We'll go where the money is," he said.
North Fork's program is a twist on the way banks have traditionally brought in bulk deposits.
Usually, banks collect brokered and wholesale money through operations in-house, not through a separate subsidiary in another state.
By operating in a new market, North Fork "won't cannibalize" deposits in its base area, said Christopher Quackenbush, a principal at Sandler O'Neill Investment Banking, New York.
The approach also fits North Fork's expansion-minded style of banking, Mr. Quackenbush said.
Branford Savings and other out-of-state operations "will provide a built-in customer base" for retail expansion by North Fork, he said.