Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. has announced the signing of a definitive agreement for the acquisition of privately held Firestone Financial Corp. as an operating subsidiary of Berkshire Bank. Based in Needham, Mass., Firestone is a nationwide commercial specialty finance company serving the laundry business, as well as the amusement, fitness and vending industries.
“We are excited to be joining the Berkshire team,” said Firestone CEO David Cohen. “With Berkshire’s resources behind us, we believe we can be a significant contributor to the continued growth and profitability of this organization. With the support of Berkshire Bank, we will be able to offer our thousands of customers additional services to help facilitate their continued growth.”
“Firestone is a terrific fit for Berkshire Bank,” stated Berkshire CEO Michael Daly. “The strength of the management team and their conservative approach to credit has made them into a solid performing finance company. Our strategic decision to complement our strong asset-based lending platform with this specialty finance business enables us to further diversify our assets while expanding our client offerings. We look forward to adding Firestone’s expertise to our organization and to taking advantage of the synergies available through this acquisition.”
“We are pleased to expand our commercial lending platform with this attractive acquisition,” added George Bacigalupo, Berkshire’s executive vice president of commercial banking. “The addition of Firestone enhances both the geographic and categorical diversification of our loan portfolio while providing a valuable additional growth channel for us. The business will continue to be run by Firestone’s talented management team, and their experience and conservative relationship-based approach makes this a great fit for our organization.”
On March 31, 2015, Firestone had approximately $190 million in loans outstanding spread across multiple industries. Borrowers are widely dispersed, with no state comprising more than 11 percent of the outstanding balance and the largest borrower representing just 1.2 percent of outstandings.
Firestone, which has been in business for 50 years, is led by industry veterans Cohen and Scott Cooper, both of whom joined the company in the 1980s. The senior team has extensive experience in the markets they serve and will continue to run the business.
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