Trustco Bank Corp. of Schenectady is proving a formidable contender in a bidding war for two of upstate New York's oldest thrifts.
Cohoes (N.Y.) Bancorp and Hudson River Bancorp of Hudson announced plans to merge in April, but two months later Trustco made its own hostile bids for both companies. Though officials at $727 million-asset Cohoes and $1.1 billion-asset Hudson River say they remain committed to their $89 million merger agreement, others say shareholders should seriously consider Trustco's offers. "As an investor, you must be suspect of average companies pairing," said John L. Pritchard, executive director of the Independent Bankers Association of New York State. Instead of merging the "two mediocre organizations," they would be better off combining with $2.3 billion-asset Trustco, which has produced stronger returns, he said.