Merger finalized, new jobs added



BAR HARBOR — The merger of the parent company of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust (BHBT) and the New Hampshire-based Lake Sunapee Bank Group has created 21 new jobs in the state, according to BHBT CEO Curtis Simard.

“It’s big news for a bank located in Down East Maine on an island,” Simard said, “we’re putting good-paying jobs with career opportunities here in the MDI-Ellsworth region.”

New jobs include support staff for the combined operation such as information technology (IT) specialists. The operations center for the combined bank is in Bar Harbor, he said, including the headquarters for its IT team.

Bar Harbor Bank & Trust has 15 branch locations from Lubec to Topsham, while Lake Sunapee Bank has 35 branches in west-central New Hampshire and central Vermont.

While those 35 branches will continue to operating under the Lake Sunapee brand following the merger, Simard said Bar Harbor Bankshares is the parent company and sole reporting institution for those branches and Bar Harbor Bank & Trust’s branches.

Customers of both banks should receive welcome letters from the new combined company in February, Simard said.

A few jobs also have been eliminated, but the changes add up to a net job gain for Maine, he said. Five positions at the BHBT mortgage underwriting group in Ellsworth went away as the company decided to consolidate those operations. Loans will still be originated here, but using the underwriting team based at Lake Sunapee will standardize and speed up the timeline for applicants, Simard said.

Approved by shareholders in October, 2016, BHBT’s acquisition of Lake Sunapee grows the company to over $3 billion in assets, making it one of the largest community banks in Northern New England, with 49 branch locations across the three states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The bank’s stock is up 20 percent since Oct. 20.

“The merger creates value for shareholders, customers and employees by creating efficiencies and strategic growth opportunities, allowing the combined organization to draw on various customer service, product and technological strengths,” Simard said in a statement.

As a division of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Lake Sunapee Bank branches will continue to operate under the Lake Sunapee Bank name and William J. McIver, former chief operating officer of Lake Sunapee, will continue with the combined company as executive vice president-regional president, New Hampshire and Vermont markets. Lake Sunapee Bank’s subsidiaries, McCrillis & Eldredge Insurance and Charter Trust Company, will operate as subsidiaries of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. Lake Sunapee directors Steven H. Dimick, Stephen W. Ensign and Stephen R. Theroux have been appointed to Bar Harbor’s board of directors.

“This partnership is a milestone for community banking in Northern New England,” Simard said. “Both companies are enthusiastic to continue as a combined organization and to build on the reputations previously developed, sharing a focus on community involvement and outstanding customer service.”

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