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Bank deals in Pennsylvania, NJ; Crapo opposes House cannabis banking bill


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Bank deals in Pennsylvania, NJ; Crapo opposes House cannabis banking bill

In New Jersey, Kearny Financial Corp. agreed to acquire MSB Financial Corp. in a transaction valued at over $94 million based on Kearny Financial's Dec. 17 closing stock price of $14.10 per share. The merger is expected to close during the second calendar quarter of 2020. Upon closing, Kearny Financial shareholders will own approximately 94% and MSB Financial shareholders will own about 6% of the combined company.

In Pennsylvania, Covenant Financial Inc. is merging with Citizens & Northern Corp. in a transaction valued at about $77 million. Upon completion of the deal, which is expected close in the third quarter of 2020, Covenant Financial's unit Covenant Bank will merge into Citizens & Northern subsidiary Citizens & Northern Bank.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, Cambridge Financial Group Inc. agreed to acquire Melrose Bancorp Inc., the holding company of Melrose Bank. Under the deal terms, Melrose Bank will be merged into Cambridge Savings Bank, with the latter as the surviving entity. The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2020 and upon completion, Cambridge Financial Group will reportedly have roughly $4.7 billion in consolidated assets.

And Hattiesburg, Miss.-based First Bancshares Inc. agreed to acquire Moultrie, Ga.-based Southwest Georgia Financial Corp., the parent company of Southwest Georgia Bank. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020. The combined company, including First Bancshares' recently completed acquisition of First Florida Bancorp, will have approximately $4.5 billion in total assets, $3.6 billion in total deposits and $3.0 billion in total loans.

Clearfield, Pa.-based CNB Financial Corp. agreed to acquire Akron, N.Y.-based Bank of Akron for $215 per share in cash and stock, or about $64.5 million in the aggregate. Following the deal's completion, Bank of Akron will operate as BankOnBuffalo, a division of CNB Bank. Based on financials as of Sept. 30, the combined entity will have approximately $4 billion in assets.

Nashville, Tenn.-based Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc., which has long been interested in the Atlanta market, is looking to enter the region in 2020 with a de novo startup. Atlanta will be Pinnacle's largest market in terms of population size (5.9 million) and gross domestic product ($385.5 billion). Pinnacle Financial hired Rob Garcia, a former Synovus Financial Corp. executive, as its Atlanta president.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said he does not support the SAFE Banking Act, passed by the House, that aims at providing regulatory relief to financial services companies offering services to cannabis-related businesses. "Significant concerns remain that the SAFE Banking Act does not address the high level potency of marijuana, marketing tactics to children, lack of research on marijuana's effects, and the need to prevent bad actors and cartels from using the banks to disguise ill-gotten cash to launder money into the financial system," Crapo said in a statement. Crapo has invited public feedback on potential changes to address public health and safety issues.

John Klosek, a partner at OTC Global Holdings, sued the firm's co-CEOs Javier Loya and Joseph Kelly alleging the company was in financial trouble after it was charged millions of dollars on personal expenses, the Financial Times reports. OTC said it is aware of the suit which was filed after Klosek was terminated from the company.

Charles Peck, public finance head of Wells Fargo & Co.'s corporate and investment bank, will join the team of Bill Daley, the bank's vice chairman of public affairs, on an interim basis to assist with planning and "critical projects," Bloomberg News reports, citing a company memo. In addition, Daley is reportedly looking externally for new heads of corporate communications and government relations.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: HK bourse enhances ESG focus; Westpac served with shareholder litigation

Europe: UK to test banks for climate risks; potential Co-op sale; Nordea in €575M deal

Middle East & Africa: S&P cuts Lebanese banks; Dubai Islamic Bank shareholders OKs Noor Bank takeover

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

US banks trading at lowest price-to-adjusted tangible book values in November: Price momentum continued for U.S. bank stocks in November, particularly for the larger institutions. All but one of the top 40 public U.S. banks by market capitalization — Kansas City, Mo.-based Commerce Bancshares Inc. — recorded a positive total return last month.

Quicken Loans led top nonbank mortgage lenders in 2018: Quicken Loans Inc. originated $81.44 billion in mortgages in 2018 — the most among all nondepository institutions and the second-most among all institution types.

Credit quality mixed at US credit unions, community banks in Q3'19: Both credit unions and community banks reported mixed credit quality trends during the third quarter. The net charge-off ratio at U.S. community banks rose 3 basis points year over year to 0.15%, while at credit unions, it remained unchanged at 0.55%.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng decreased by 0.30% to 27,800.49, while the Nikkei 225 was down 0.29% to 23,864.85.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased by 0.21% to 7,558.69, and the Euronext 100 increased by 0.01% to 1,140.42.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the Philadelphia Fed business outlook survey report, the current account report, the existing homes sales report, the leading indicators report, EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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