EASTHAMPTON AND PEABODY, MASSACHUSETTS — FEBRUARY 15, 2024 — Hometown Financial Group, Inc., the holding company for bankESB, bankHometown, and Abington Bank, and North Shore Bancorp, the holding company for North Shore Bank, jointly announced today that the organizations have entered into an agreement in which North Shore Bank will join the Hometown Financial Group family of banks through a merger of Abington Bank with and into North Shore Bank.

The combined bank will have more than $3 billion in assets and 25 full-service retail locations across Massachusetts’ North and South Shore regions and southern New Hampshire. No branch closures and no staff reductions are anticipated. As part of the transaction, North Shore Bank will establish a new charitable foundation to supplement its existing philanthropic mission. 

At closing, the branches in the South Shore region will continue to operate under the Abington Bank brand as a division of North Shore Bank, led by Kevin M. Tierney, Sr., the current chief executive officer of North Shore Bank, who will take on the additional role of president of Hometown Financial Group. Michael R. Wheeler, currently president and chief operating officer of North Shore Bank, will also become the chief operating officer of Hometown Financial Group. This transaction will allow long-time Abington Bank President and CEO Andrew J. Raczka to retire after a long and successful career in community banking. The boards of directors of North Shore Bank and Abington Bank will merge at closing and corporators of North Shore Bank will join corporators of Hometown Financial Group.

We’re thrilled to welcome North Shore Bank’s customers, employees, and communities to the Hometown Financial Group family of banks,” said Matthew S. Sosik, the chairman and chief executive officer of Hometown Financial Group and president and CEO of bankESB. “This merger will more than double our presence in eastern Massachusetts in terms of locations and assets, so we’re eager to share the significant power and resources of Hometown Financial Group with the employees and customers of North Shore Bank.

Customers and consumers in eastern Massachusetts also will benefit from the residential mortgage products and services offered through Hometown Mortgage, an affiliate of Hometown Financial Group. 

North Shore Bank is one of the strongest banks in our region, so we are very excited to have them join our growing family of banks,” Sosik added. “Our holding company structure offers the best of both worlds to our customers, employees, and communities. Each bank is deeply rooted in the neighborhoods they call home, so each can harness their own local branding power while leveraging an expansive, best-in-class array of shared operational resources, which allow us to take advantage of size, scale, and efficiency.  

We’ve always said that growing our local markets and providing top-notch customer service are our highest priorities, and this merger with North Shore Bank allows us to continue doing just that,” said Abington Bank Board Chairman Paul Sullivan. “It also allows us to partner with a premier community bank on the North Shore and to unlock potential for many more customers.  

We’re very pleased to be joining Hometown Financial Group and, at the same time, excited to welcome the employees and customers of Abington Bank to North Shore Bank,” said Tierney. “This transaction is a partnership of two premier banking organizations and represents another step for us to ensure our long-term success. North Shore Bank customers will continue to enjoy enhanced products and services, innovative digital banking tools, and an expanded branch network to help meet the evolving needs of customers.

Following completion of the transaction, Hometown Financial Group will have consolidated assets of approximately $6.4 billion, nearly 700 employees, and a branch network of 52 full-service offices across Massachusetts, northeastern Connecticut, and southern New Hampshire. 

This transaction is the seventh strategic merger for Hometown Financial Group in the last nine years. 

The merger has been unanimously approved by the boards of Hometown Financial Group, Abington Bank, and North Shore Bank. The transaction is anticipated to close in the second half of 2024, subject to the receipt of all required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Luse Gorman, PC served as legal counsel to Hometown Financial Group, Inc., while Piper Sandler provided strategic consulting. Nutter McClellan & Fish LLP served as legal counsel for North Shore Bank, while Keefe Bruyette and Woods provided strategic consulting.

About Hometown Financial Group
Hometown Financial Group, Inc. is a $4.7 billion multi-bank mutual holding company headquartered in Easthampton, Massachusetts, and is the parent company of bankESB, bankHometown, and Abington Bank. These separate and distinct banking franchises offer a complete line of consumer and business deposit and lending products through its 37 branch offices located throughout Massachusetts and northeastern Connecticut.  Residential mortgage products are available through Hometown Mortgage. Hometown Financial Group received national recognition as a two-time Top Financial Services Industry Workplace award winner in 2023 and 2022. For more information, visit bankHFG.com.

About North Shore Bank
North Shore Bank is a $1.7 billion full-service community bank based in Peabody, Massachusetts, and serving the personal and business banking needs of the North Shore, eastern Massachusetts, and southern New Hampshire. Established in 1888, the bank operates 15 offices located in Beverly, Danvers, Merrimac, Middleton, Peabody, Reading, Salem and Saugus, Massachusetts and Newton, New Hampshire.