Two Federally-Chartered Banks Convert to Massachusetts State Charters
Boston - July 30, 2010 - The Patrick-Murray Administration Commissioner of Banks David Cotney announced that Brookline Bank has completed its conversion from a federally-chartered savings bank to a state-chartered savings bank and The First National Bank of Ipswich has converted from a national bank to a Massachusetts-chartered trust company. These are the first conversions of this type since 2001.
Brookline Bank, a former state-chartered bank prior to its conversion to a federal charter in 2001, and The First National Bank of Ipswich are wholly owned subsidiaries of Brookline Bancorp, Inc. Brookline Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company with consolidated assets of $4.9 billion that also owns all of the outstanding capital stock of Bank Rhode Island, a Rhode Island-chartered bank. Until these recent conversions, Brookline Bank and The First National Bank of Ipswich were regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a federal agency.
"Massachusetts consumers are fortunate that they have a large number of local institutions to choose from," said Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which oversees the Division of Banks. "A marketplace with more home-grown firms is always better for customers."
Brookline Bank, with assets of approximately $2.7 billion and 20 full-service banking offices in Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk Counties, was the largest federally-chartered savings bank in Massachusetts.
The Division of Banks approved Brookline Bank's application for conversion after considering the effects of the proposed transaction and determining that all of the relevant statutory and regulatory requirements were met.
"We do not expect that Brookline Bank's conversion to a state charter will result in any significant change in the bank's operation or the products and services offered," Commissioner Cotney said.
Concurrent with this conversion, Brookline Bank was also approved to become a member of the Federal Reserve System.
Simultaneously with the Brookline Bank transaction, The First National Bank of Ipswich, with assets of approximately $272 million and six banking offices in Essex and Suffolk Counties, was approved by the Massachusetts Board of Bank Incorporation to convert from a national bank to a Massachusetts-chartered trust company. The First National Bank of Ipswich also received approval to remain a member of the Federal Reserve System and changed its name to First Ipswich Bank.
As a result of these transactions, the Massachusetts Division of Banks will become the primary regulator for Brookline Bank and First Ipswich Bank. Banks may choose to operate under a federal or state charter and, in the wake of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, more banks across the country are opting for a state charter.
"Supervision by a state regulator may provide oversight with greater understanding of the local market and the challenges that community banks face" Commissioner Cotney said.
The Division of Banks oversees approximately 220 banks and credit unions with more than $320 billion in total assets.
The Patrick-Murray Administration's Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office at its Facebook page and on Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.