Spencer Savings Bank and Southbridge Savings Bank in Massachusetts have agreed to merge in a combination of mutual thrifts in the Worcester, Mass., area.

The companies said they will combine their two mutual holding companies, Spencer MHC and Green Valley Bancorp MHC, but the banks will remain separate from each other.

The boards of both mutual holding companies have approved the deal. It still requires approval from regulators and from the legal corporators of both banks. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.

Michael Robbins, chief executive of Spencer, in a news release Wednesday described the deal as "a merger of equals."

Robbins will be chairman and CEO of the combined mutual holding company. Todd Tallman, Southbridge's CEO, will be president and treasurer of the new MHC. Robbins and Tallman will remain president and CEO of their respective banks.

The $469 million-asset Spencer Savings Bank, which operates under the name SpencerBank, was founded in 1871 and has six branches.

The $479 million-asset Southbridge was established in 1848 and operates nine branches.

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