Cambridge Trust merges with Wellesley Bank in $122 million deal, leaping up to 22 branches
Wellesley Bancorp, the parent of Wellesley Bank, has agreed to an acquisition by Cambridge Bancorp in a deal valued at $122 million.
Once the all-stock purchase goes through, Wellesley Bank would become part of growing Cambridge Trust Co. The Wellesley Bank branch in Wellesley Square just underwent a facelift over the summer, and it looks like it will be getting some more work down the road – undoubtedly matching a new look in the works since at least September 2018 for Cambridge Trust, which is trading in its Old English typography for a more modern look.
A press release announcing the transaction refers to it as a “strategically compelling merger” of private banking and wealth management firms. An accompanying presentation states that uniting the banks will “provide additional scale in the dynamic and affluent greater Boston market.”
What is Cambridge Trust buying? Wellesley Bank, founded in 1911, has expanded beyond its five-branch roots in its hometown, Needham and Newton in recent years, opening a sixth branch in Boston and going public. It has a little under $1 billion in assets; the entity combined with Cambridge Trust – started in 1890 and now running 16 banking offices in Massachusetts (in Cambridge, Boston, Belmont, Concord, Lexington and Weston) and New Hampshire – will be closer to $4 billion. Its $3.5 million deal merging with Optima Bank & Trust in New Hampshire took place in April.
The transaction is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2020, according to a press release from the two institutions.
Wellesley and Cambridge have a long history of syncing up. Wellesley’s great benefactor, H.H. Hunnewell, was a Harvard man. Wellesley College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have long bonded through their Toons a cappella group, and connected via a shuttle bus.
The changes coming to Cambridge Trust don’t sit well with everyone – at least, aesthetically. When the company’s new look came before the City Council in October for a projecting sign in Huron Village (followed by another changeover in Kendall Square last month), vice mayor Jan Devereux weighed in.
“The new sign looks tacky,” Devereux said. “The old sign had the sort of more old-fashioned font on a dark red background that blended into the bricks, and it looked very appropriate for the neighborhood. This one has a much different font on what looks like a white aluminum background, and it just looks kind of cheap. I don’t think there’s much we can do about it, but I’m disappointed. It’s my bank!”