Fast-growing Sun Bancorp of New Jersey has a deal to buy 14 branches in its home state from First Union Corp.
Sun, based in Vineland, said it will pay an undisclosed amount for the branches, which have $250 million of deposits. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.
The $1.5 billion-asset company had already made two significant expansion announcements this year. In March, Sun said it would open 13 new branches in central and southern New Jersey by June 1. More recently it said it was awaiting approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to convert its Philadelphia loan production office into a full- service branch, its first in Pennsylvania.
Sun's branch total, 51 on Dec. 31, is expected to hit nearly 80, in three states, by the end of this year. Sun had only 13 branches, and $217 million of assets, at yearend 1994.
The company is no stranger to branch purchases. Last year it entered Delaware by buying the eight-branch network of Beneficial National Bank from Household International Inc. And the year before Sun bought 11 New Jersey branches and $175 million of deposits from Bank of New York.
Philip W. Koebig 3d, president of the holding company, said it is still looking for expansion opportunities. An employee is dedicated to analyzing competitors' branch networks to anticipate divestitures by larger companies.
"The goal is to continue to grow and expand in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware," Mr. Koebig said. "There are still a lot of pockets in New Jersey alone we would like to fill in."
Anthony Polini, an analyst with Advest Group Inc. in New York, said Sun has done a good job of making money from branches that bigger banks discarded.
"Some of these branches are in the more rural areas, which are perfect for community banks," he said. "There is still an opportunity to capitalize on the consolidation in New Jersey, and these guys are doing it."
Mr. Polini said he expects Sun's earnings to grow 20% this year, compared with Advest's industrywide estimate of 10% to 12%. "We couldn't be happier with their earnings," he said.