|Industry||Bank holding company|
|Fate||Merged with Commerce Bancorp to become TD Bank, N.A.|
|Successor||TD Bank, N.A.|
|Founded||2001 as Banknorth
2004 as TD Banknorth
TD Banknorth, formerly just Banknorth, was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Toronto-Dominion Bank which conducted banking and insurance activities, primarily serving the northeastern area of the United States, headquartered in Portland, Maine. The bank became TD Bank, N.A. in June 2008.
In August 2004, Toronto-Dominion Bank became the majority owner, renaming it "TD Banknorth, N.A."; all remaining shares of TD Banknorth were acquired by Toronto-Dominion Bank on April 20, 2007.
Its operating companies were Banknorth Connecticut, Peoples Heritage Bank (in Maine), Banknorth Massachusetts, Bank of New Hampshire, Evergreen Bank (in New York), Hudson United Bank, Banknorth Vermont, and Bancnorth Insurance Group. The majority of these companies were branded as TD Banknorth of State (example "TD Banknorth of Maine").
On April 10, 2008, TD Banknorth merged with New Jersey–based Commerce Bank to form TD Bank, with joint headquarters in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Portland, Maine. The legal name of the bank was changed to TD Bank, N.A. in June 2008, with all TD Banknorth branches outside of New England and all Commerce Bank branches being rebranded in the fall of 2008. The remaining branches, in New England, took on the new name in September 2009.
The Portland Savings Bank was established in 1852, and was initially open only on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11 to 1. Albion K. Parris, Portland’s mayor, was the first President. Support of community and public projects was an important objective of the bank. It weathered the great fire of Portland and the financial panics in 1873 and 1878, and at its 50th year in 1902 had 24,000 depositors, deposits of almost $10,000,000, and a staff of nine. In 1906, a branch on Congress Street joined the Head Office branch, and nineteen years later all business moved to Congress Street.
The Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression gravely threatened the bank. To handle the number of properties it came to own through foreclosure, the bank established a “Real Estate Department” or property management division. Returning to prosperity with the post-war mortgage boom, Portland Savings was revolutionized under the leadership of Roger Lambert, CEO from 1965 to 1981. He encouraged the creation of a more dynamic board of directors and established a wide array of bank services, following the model of the commercial banks. He expanded Portland Savings’ portfolio of commercial loans and introduced innovative retail products such as money market certificates. Between 1965 and 1981 the bank grew from 2 to 13 branches across Maine, with assets increasing from $63 to $294 million
People’s Savings was founded in 1875 in Lewiston, Maine. A conservative but successful bank, it prospered with the local mill economy. Early in the twentieth century the bank innovated by opening $1 accounts for all babies born in the area, on condition that there were no withdrawals for ten years. The policy lasted into the 1970s. Christmas and vacation clubs were also established. Local banks suffered greatly from the decline of the mill economy in the 1920s and 1930s, but enjoyed a recovery during World War II, with industrial renewal and a defense bond business. In the post-war period People’s helped finance the new industries that were gradually replacing textiles in the local economy.
Rockland Savings was established in 1868 in Rockland, Maine, (following attempts in 1855 and 1861). In 1974, it changed its name to the Heritage Savings Bank. In 1978, it merged with:
Franklin County Savings Bank was founded in 1899 in St. Albans, Vermont. The bank maintained the name Franklin County Bank until the merger with Lamoille County Bank & Trust Company (1875) in the early 1970s. After the merger, the bank adopted a new name, Franklin Lamoille Bank. The bank also incorporated a holding company named Banknorth.
Woodstock National Bank was founded in 1802 and merged into the Howard Bancorp. The Woodstock National Bank maintained its name until June 1999 when it merged into its sister bank First Vermont Bank & Trust Company.
The Granite Saving Bank & Trust Company was founded in Barre, Vermont in 1885. The bank's original office, located on North Main Street in Barre, is now the home for a senior citizen group. The current headquarters is 36 North Main Street, Barre. Banknorth Group Inc. planned to maintain the name until it was purchased by Peoples Bank (Maine). In 2000, Granite Savings Bank & Trust merged with its sister bank The Howard Bank, a change some customers never noticed until their statement arrived.
The Howard National Bank & Trust Company of Burlington, Vermont, was founded in 1870. The Bank bought out a few banks and took them under the Howard Bank name. The Bank changed and shortened its name when it became a more statewide banking company. The Bank also created a banking holding company as "Howard Bancorp" in 1995, and in 1996 the Howard Bancorp merged with Banknorth Group Inc. In the deal, Howard Bancorp decided to take on the Banknorth Group name.
The First Vermont Bank & Trust was founded in 1906. The Company bought Franklin Lamoille Bank and was one of the first banks to offer on-line banking for the tellers. However, when Howard Bancorp purchased Banknorth Group, management found it too expensive to upgrade the systems of the new division. In 1999, the bank acquired Woodstock National Bank and in 2002, all three Vermont banks were merged into Banknorth N.A. Vermont, a division of Banknorth N.A.
The oldest component that Banknorth currently has recorded for the Vermont banking company is Woodstock National Bank. All the Vermont banking companies date to the 1800s with the exception of First Vermont Bank from 1906.
"The late 1970s and early 1980s were difficult years for the thrift industry. As inflation and interest rates soared into double digits, savings banks in Maine and elsewhere found themselves forced to pay higher interest rates to attract depositors while maintaining a large portfolio of long-term low-interest mortgages." In 1981, Portland Savings declared a loss and recognized a pressing need for consolidation in the local banking market. The following year Portland and People’s arranged a merger, and the new bank adopted the People’s name. In 1984, Peoples and Heritage merged as Peoples Heritage – a billion dollar institution with Wes Bonney as the first President. The new bank, with a total of 35 branches, moved quickly to expand its ATM network, introduce innovations such as Cashline phone banking, and develop an emphasis on commercial loans – a new development for a traditional savings bank. In 1986, in an effort to acquire capital for expansion, Peoples dropped its charter as a mutual bank and rechartered into a public corporation.
With its new resources the bank planned to grow its asset base from $1 billion to $4 billion within five years. This would be accomplished through acquisitions, an expanded branch network, and a rapid increase in commercial lending and real estate. In 1988, Peoples Heritage reorganized itself as a bank holding company in order to gain greater flexibility in making bank and non-bank acquisitions.
Acquisitions in the period were:
In 1989, the Maine real estate market collapsed. In this period of crisis, William J. Ryan became the new President and CEO. In 1990, the recession resulted in 111 bank closures or mergers in New England. Peoples’ stock began to fall as serious problems emerged with bad loans, particularly in the faltering real estate sector, but also in the commercial realm. In the period 1990 to 1992, Peoples was losing money, and federal regulators issued a cease and desist order restricting the bank’s freedom in the loans area. In response, the management team was shaken up, and special teams were assigned to loans review and restructuring. The bank opened an innovative storefront retail real estate office to move foreclosed properties.
Recovery began by mid-1992. The bank had aggressively reduced its portfolio of non-performing loans, and all discernible asset quality trends were positive, resulting in a favorable impact to the bottom line. In 1993, the bank again became profitable, and it re-capitalized with a rights offering in Q4 1992, generating $38 million in new capital.
In 1993, the Peoples management held a retreat to plan strategy for future growth. Bill Ryan proposed a doubling of assets to $5 billion through a maximization of market share in Maine and acquisition of other community banks in the region.
The plan resulted in the following acquisitions during the 1990s:
The Banknorth acquisition was the most significant to date, and with it Peoples assumed the Banknorth name. Banknorth Group Inc. was headquartered in Burlington, Vermont. The company was the holding company for: Franklin Lamoille Bank (1899) in St. Albans; The Howard Bank N.A. (1870) in Burlington; Stratevest N.A. (Investment & Managements) in Burlington (FLB, THB, GSB, FVB, FNB, FMB, EB); Granite Savings Bank & Trust Company (1885) in Barre; Woodstock National Bank (1802) in Woodstock; First Vermont Bank & Trust Company (1906) in Brattleboro; and Farmington National Bank (1854), Farmington, New Hampshire. The merger increased Peoples' assets to $17 billion and gave it a larger presence in Massachusetts, Vermont and, through Evergreen Bank (Glens Falls, (1853), in New York.
The completion of the merger was delayed by regulatory review, but on May 10, 2000, Banknorth Group Inc of Portland, Maine came into being. “The Banknorth acquisition brought into the fold eight separate community banks (Franklin Lamoille Bank N.A., The Howard Bank N.A., and First Vermont Bank N.A. in Vermont; Bank of New Hampshire under the charter of Farmington National Bank in New Hampshire; Oxford Bank & Trust, a division of Peoples Heritage Bank, and Peoples Heritage Bank in Maine; First Mass. Bank in Massachusetts; GBT, a division of First Mass Bank in Connecticut; and Evergreen Bank in New York), with 101 branches, together with an investment management firm, Stratevest, that oversaw some 4 billion in assets and a freestanding mortgage-lending unit.”
The new organization renewed its program of acquisitions. “As Banknorth expanded across the map of New England, the message remained the same: community banking values, enhanced by the resources of a major banking organization, create a better bank.”
Acquisitions in the period included:
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the emphasis was on the development of a financial services company in a true community bank setting. In 1997, the bank launched what would become Banknorth Insurance Group, and by 2002 built the largest insurance brokerage group in New England. By 2002, Banknorth Investment Management Group had grown out of the trust business of the Bank of New Hampshire and Banknorth Vermont’s consolidated trusts operation, Stratevest.
On December 31, 2001, the holding company, Banknorth Group, Inc., merged its seven subsidiary banks into one bank, Banknorth NA under the Peoples Heritage Bank charter dating back to 1852, with one OCC charter. Using locally relevant trade names retained the local identity in each state.
On August 26, 2004, TD Bank Financial Group announced it had signed an agreement with Banknorth to acquire 51% of the outstanding shares of the company for a total of $3.8 billion US. Banknorth shareholders approved the transaction at a special meeting of shareholders on February 18, 2005, and final approval was announced on March 1, 2005. In connection with the transaction, Banknorth changed its name to TD Banknorth Inc. and reincorporated in Delaware.
All remaining shares of TD Banknorth were acquired by Toronto-Dominion Bank on April 20, 2007.
In July 2005, TD Banknorth announced that it had acquired Hudson United Bank, based in Mahwah, New Jersey. Hudson United had earlier acquired numerous regional banks. The acquisition significantly expanded TD Banknorth’s presence in both Connecticut and New York and extended the franchise into northern New Jersey and Philadelphia as well.
TD Banknorth announced acquisition of Interchange Financial Services Corp in April 2006, adding 30 branches in Bergen and Essex counties of New Jersey.
In January 2006, the company finalized acquisition of Boothby & Bartlett Company, a central Maine insurance agency in Waterville.
Banknorth added a sister company, TD Ameritrade, which was formed after the Ameritrade Holding Corporation acquired TD Waterhouse USA from Toronto-Dominion Bank in 2006. On November 20, 2006, TD Bank Financial and TD Banknorth entered into an agreement in which TD Bank would acquire all remaining shares of TD Banknorth held by the public for US$32.33 per share in cash. This was completed on April 20, 2007, and TD Banknorth became a wholly owned subsidiary of TD Bank.
On October 2, 2007, Toronto-Dominion announced its plans to acquire Cherry Hill, New Jersey–based Commerce Bancorp, pending shareholder and regulatory approval. The combined company was to be known as TD Commerce Bank, but in March 2008 Commerce Bank & Trust Company of Worcester, Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against TD Banknorth, to bar the bank from using the name TD Commerce Bank in its existing Massachusetts branches. On May 2, 2008, federal Judge F. Dennis Saylor granted a preliminary injunction, prohibiting the use of the TD Commerce name in Massachusetts branches. Toronto-Dominion then dropped plans to add the Commerce name to its banking operation and instead chose to operate all its branches as "TD Bank".
(All quotes derived from James Hayman, “Taken at the Flood: The Remarkable Unfinished Story of Banknorth Group”, Banknorth Group, 2003. This official history is the principal source of information for the summary.)
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