WSFS Financial Corp. in Wilmington, Del., announced an agreement Thursday to acquire Christiana Bank & Trust Co. from National Penn Bancshares Inc. for $34.5 million.

The $3.8 billion-asset WSFS will pick up $6 billion in trust assets under administration or management at the Greenville, Del., bank, as well as $161 million in deposits and $115 million in performing loans. The company will not acquire any of Christiana's classified or nonaccrual loans or repossessed properties in the transaction.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Stephen Fowle, the chief financial officer at WSFS, said there were two attributes of the $202 million-asset bank that made it an attractive acquisition target.

Christiana's traditional banking operations are based in Greenville, an attractive, affluent market just outside Wilmington."We have a presence there, but this will take that presence a big step forward in the community," he said.

More importantly, Christiana has a strong and developed wealth management business with clients across and country and overseas, Fowle said.

WSFS has focused on growing its trust and wealth management business since 2007, and the acquisition significantly advances that goal, said Richard Immesberger, the company's director of trust and wealth management.

"As we looked at Christiana, it struck me as what we want to be about 10 years from now," Immesberger said. "It looked like my business plan. It was just a great opportunity for us."

It has one branch in Greenville, two branches in Wilmington and a wealth management office in Las Vegas. The deal is expected to be accretive to earnings in 2011, WSFS said in a press release.

Fowle said the bank, which had a total risk-based capital ratio of 12.33% as of March 31, will continue to keep its eyes open for other deals. The company's strategic plan includes expanding into southeast Pennsylvania, throughout the Delmarva Peninsula and in Cecil County in northeastern Maryland.

He said the company is open to failed bank acquisitions as well, but doesn't anticipate any opportunities in its market.

"We've seen things as close as the Baltimore-D.C .area, but that's a little bit further of a jump than we're willing to take right now," Fowle said.

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