Justice Department Requires Divestitures in Huntington Bancshares Incorporated’s Acquisition of FirstMerit Corporation
Thirteen Branches in Northeast Ohio to Be Divested
The Department of Justice announced today that Huntington Bancshares Incorporated and FirstMerit Corporation have agreed to sell 13 branches in Northeast Ohio, with approximately $737.8 million in deposits, to resolve antitrust concerns that arose from Huntington’s planned acquisition of FirstMerit. As a result of the acquisition, Huntington will become the largest bank in Ohio based on deposits.
Under their agreement with the department, the companies have agreed to divest two branches in Ashtabula County and 11 branches in Stark County, Ohio. The divested assets will include the deposits and loans associated with the divested branches. The companies have also agreed to suspend existing, and not to enter into new, non-compete agreements with their branch managers and loan officers located in Ashtabula County and Stark County, Ohio, for a period of 180 days following the consummation of their merger. Further, the companies have agreed to sell or lease branches closed within two years of the consummation of the merger in Ashtabula County or Stark County, Ohio, to FDIC-insured depository institutions offering deposit and credit services to small businesses.
“Families and small businesses rely on banks in their communities to keep their money safe and provide them credit for important purchases and investments,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Today’s settlement protects banking customers in Ashtabula County and the Greater Canton area by ensuring that they continue to have access to competitively priced banking products.”
The proposed merger is subject to the final approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The department said that it will advise the Federal Reserve Board that it will not challenge the merger provided that: the parties divest the branch offices, associated loans and deposits and the entire customer relationships associated with the divestiture branches; the parties commit to the Federal Reserve Board that they will comply with the agreement with the department; and the parties’ commitments to the department are included as a condition to any order the Federal Reserve Board enters allowing the transaction.
Huntington is the holding company of The Huntington National Bank, Columbus, Ohio, with approximately $73 billion in assets. Huntington operates more than 750 branches and 1,500 ATMs in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Huntington specializes in full-service commercial, small business, and consumer banking services, as well as services ranging from mortgage banking to equipment leasing.
FirstMerit is the holding company of FirstMerit Bank, N.A., Akron, Ohio, with approximately $26.1 billion in assets. With about 370 branches and 400 ATMs in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, FirstMerit provides a large range of banking and other financial services to consumers and businesses.
A list of the branches to be divested is attached.