Two local banks merging

April 15, 2014
Barron P. McCune Jr., left, president and CEO of Community Bank, and Pat G. O’Brien, president and CEO of First Federal, stand together after announcing the merger of the two banks into Community Bank. The official announcement came during a news conference held at Southpointe Golf Club in Cecil Township Tuesday afternoon. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Community Bank’s objective, Pat McCune explained, is to live up to its name – on a grander scale.

“Southwestern Pennsylvania,” he said, “is going to have a very capable, very service-oriented organization that will be better than ever at filling the void for people who want to work with a locally owned, locally managed community bank.”

McCune, president and chief executive officer of the Carmichaels-based bank, was referring Tuesday to the pending merger of CB Financial Services Inc. and FedFirst Financial Corp., the holding companies, respectively, for Community Bank and First Federal Savings Bank.

The two signed a definitive agreement Monday in which FedFirst will merge into CB, a $54.5 million transaction of cash and stocks expected to close in the late third quarter or early fourth quarter of this year. Boards of directors of both companies approved the accord.

McCune spoke at a news conference Tuesday at Southpointe Golf Club along with Pat G. O’Brien, FedFirst’s president and CEO and future executive vice president and chief operating officer of Community Bank.

As part of the agreement, CB will apply to list its common shares on Nasdaq.

The terms also dictate FedFirst stockholders be entitled to $23 in cash or shares of CB common stock at a fixed-exchange ratio of 1.1590 shares of CB stock for each share of FedFirst common stock.

The merger will give CB more than $860 million in total assets.

It was not easily achieved. “We were talking for months, with advisers and certain protocols,” McCune said. “It was a long process, and there was a lot of due diligence, and it was all confidential.”

Community Bank is a robust 113-year-old, poised to provide services reflective of its name to a wider area. It kicks off a merger announcement on its website,, with “Creating the Premier Community Bank in the Marcellus Shale Region.”

Both banks are in a strategic part of shale country. Community has 11 branches, including 10 in Greene and Washington counties and one in the Brookline section of Pittsburgh.

First Federal has seven offices – Washington, Peters Township, Monongahela, Monessen, Rostraver Township, Uniontown and Perryopolis.

“It’s no accident that this transaction should hold a lot of promise. Marcellus presents opportunities and a demand for services that a community bank can provide,” said McCune, who also is chairman of Washington County Energy Partners.

Although Community Bank is larger than First Federal by most measures, McCune and O’Brien spoke about the institutions’ similarities, especially from a cultural standpoint. So did other speakers.

FedFirst board director John LaCarte used a tantalizing prop to illustrate that point, removing a candy egg from his pocket. “Peanut butter and chocolate are great together, just perfect,” he said. “That’s how I’m looking at this transaction.”

Surreptitiously handed the egg, state Rep. Pam Snyder held it up as well a few minutes later to accentuate LaCarte’s point. “I’ve been around these institutions for years,” she said. “Put the two together, and it will be a true blessing for the communities they serve.”

McCune said, “It’s truly going to be an outstanding relationship, and the combined bank will do very well.”

Months from now, after the merger closes, current FedFirst directors O’Brien, LaCarte, John M. Swiatek and Richard B. Boyer will be appointed to the boards of directors of CB and Community Bank.

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Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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