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The end of an era: Sale of Suffolk County National Bank to People’s United is completed

The Cutchogue branch of Suffolk County National BankPhoto: Katharine Schroeder

Suffolk County National Bank had its last day of operations on Friday.

People’s United Bank took over the Riverhead bank on Saturday, April 1 pursuant to an acquisition agreement signed last year. The banks got the last of the required regulatory approvals on March 16, when the Federal Reserve Board gave the deal a green light. People’s announced the completion of the acquisition today.

The acquisition marks the end of an era in the history of local banking.

Suffolk County National Bank was founded in 1890, one of the earliest banks based in Suffolk. Southold Savings Bank was chartered in 1858, Sag Harbor Savings Bank in 1860, First National Bank of Greenport — the first commercial bank in the county‚ was chartered in 1864 and Riverhead Savings Bank was chartered in 1872.

Suffolk County National Bank was organized by a retired Cutchogue physician, Dr. Henry P. Terry. He raised $50,000 from 10 prominent local men, who together founded SCNB and applied for a charter from the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency on Jan. 6, 1890. It was granted on Feb. 18. Eight of its 15 directors were also trustees of Riverhead Savings Bank, with which it would shortly thereafter share a headquarters on West Main Street.

As of Friday, Suffolk County National Bank operated 28 branches on Long Island, including two in Riverhead. People’s has not disclosed which SCNB branches may be closed. Sixty-four percent of Suffolk’s branches — including two in Riverhead — are within two miles of a People’s United branch, People’s United CEO Jack Barnes said in a June conference call announcing the proposed merger to shareholders. People’s has a branch inside the Route 58 Stop and Shop store. The Bridgeport, Connecticut-based bank has hundreds of in-supermarket branches, though the majority of its branches are traditional brick-and-mortar stand-alone bank branches.

Founded in 1842, People’s United Bank is a regional bank in the Northeast offering commercial and retail banking and wealth management services through a network of nearly 400 retail locations in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The mergers and acquisitions that consumed other locally based banks began after World War II.

People’s United and Suffolk announced last June an agreement for the purchase of Suffolk in a 100-percent stock transaction valued at approximately $402 million.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.