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Clearwater-based USAmeriBank acquired by New Jersey bank in $816 million deal

CLEARWATER — USAmeriBancorp, Inc., based in Clearwater, is being acquired by New Jersey's Valley National Bancorp in an $816 million deal, it was announced today.

Valley, in what it called a merger of two banks with "a similar focus on personal service and community involvement," said the move will allow it to expand its presence in Florida.

"This will be our third acquisition in Florida since 2014 and is consistent with our goal to expand our franchise in the high growth markets of Florida," Gerald H. Lipkin, Valley's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "USAB has a strong record of profitability and growth."

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USAmeriBancorp, the parent of USAmeriBank, has approximately $4.4 billion in assets, $3.6 billion in loans, $3.5 billion in deposits, and maintains a branch network of 30 offices.

It's the latest among several Tampa Bay-based banks to be acquired as companies look for a foothold in the booming bay area market. In the spring, Stuart-based Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida signed an agreement to buy NorthStar Banking Corp., the holding company for NorthStar Bank of Tampa in a deal valued at about $32.1 million. Earlier, Seacoast bought the parent company of Tampa's GulfShore Bank in a deal worth about $54.8 million.

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The acquisition will increase Valley's presence in the Tampa Bay market, which is Florida's second largest metro area by population. The acquisition will also bring Valley to the Birmingham, Montgomery, and Tallapoosa areas in Alabama, where USAmeriBank maintains 15 offices contributing approximately $1.1 billion of deposits and $520 million in loans.

"We are excited to join the Valley team," said Joseph V. Chillura, CEO of USAmeriBancorp, who will stay on as regional president of the Florida West Coast (Tampa to Naples) and Alabama division after the merger is complete. "Together we will be better able to serve, and expand, our customer relationships in the Tampa Bay and central Alabama areas."

Valley, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Valley National Bank, currently has 209 branches in Florida, New Jersey and New York. It has approximately $23.4 billion in assets, $17.8 billion in loans and $17.3 billion in deposits.

Common shareholders of USAB will receive 6.1 shares of Valley common stock for each USAB share they own, subject to adjustment in the event Valley's volume-weighted average stock price falls below $11.50 or rises above $13 prior to closing.

The transaction is valued at an estimated $816 million, based on Valley's closing stock price on July 25.

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