Pennsylvania's F.N.B. Bancorp. has a second deal to move it into the Florida market.
The $1.7 billion-asset bank last week agreed to acquire West Coast Bancorp, parent of First National Bank of Southwest Florida, for $31.1 million in stock.
Officials at the Hermitage-based F.N.B. said the move reflects a shift in focus from its Rust Belt home state to the fast-growing areas of southwest Florida.
"The strategic reason to be there," said John W. Rose, F.N.B.'s executive vice president, is that "the growth prospects in Pennsylvania are not that dynamic."
F.N.B., which has 94 branches in western Pennsylvania and Ohio, is typical of northern and midwestern banks in wanting to follow retired customers into Florida, said Frank J. Barkocy, senior vice president at Josephthal, Lyon & Ross Inc. in New York.
Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares is also trying to expand its $1.2 billion-asset presence in Florida; it has a deal to buy Citi- Bancshares in Leesburg.
F.N.B. is officially to enter Florida in January, when it is to complete its acquisition of Southwest Banks Inc., parent of Cape Coral National Bank and First National Bank of Naples. The deal was announced in February.
The company plans to merge West Coast into Cape Coral National Bank in the second quarter, when the second deal is to close.
The two acquisitions would boost F.N.B.'s assets to $2.35 billion. But F.N.B. officials have said looking southward was a natural for other reasons.
Since 1988, F.N.B. has provided correspondent services to Southwest Banks, which was started by the former head of F.N.B.'s accounting department started. And Peter Mortensen, the Pennsylvania company's chairman and president, is also a founder and board member of Southwest and its lead bank.
Florida "wasn't a leap for us," Mr. Rose said, "because we knew this organization so well."