Cornerstone Bank and PeoplesBank Merge Holding Companies

Information and FAQs


Cornerstone Bank is continually taking steps to grow stronger for our employees and our communities – and to ensure our long-term financial security for our customers.

Today, we celebrate an exciting transaction that reinforces this commitment. We are thrilled to share the news that Cornerstone Bank and PeoplesBank have officially agreed to merge their holding companies. While the merger agreement between PeoplesBancorp, MHC and SSB Community Bancorp, MHC will unify the two holding companies, both banks will continue to operate independently, under separate names and brands, for the foreseeable future.

It’s important to emphasize that this will not affect your banking experience in any way. Nothing will change for the customers of Cornerstone Bank, nor for the customers of PeoplesBank. There will be zero impact on your account information, debit cards, the processes you follow, or the exceptional level of service you’ve come to expect from us. We’re the same people you know and trust, now with even more resources to provide the best banking experiences possible.

We are stronger and more capable than ever before.

Our focus is on the continued success of the bank and the best interests of our customers and communities. The decision to merge holding companies comes after much due diligence and dialogue. Like Cornerstone, PeoplesBank is a mutual community bank with deep Massachusetts roots. Merging holding companies not only helps us remain resilient, but it also partners us with a dedicated, like-minded organization that shares our values and vision for the future.

Pending approval, this partnership will begin in early 2025.

Completion of the transaction remains subject to approval by the corporators of both PeoplesBancorp, MHC and SSB Community Bancorp, MHC, as well as regulatory approval. We anticipate closing sometime in the first Quarter of 2025.

We’re here to answer your questions.

We have always set out to make banking as easy as it can be, and that’s exactly what we intend to do throughout this process. We will communicate as much information with you as possible, as quickly as possible. We are eager to answer any questions you may have around the merger, and below, you will find a list of Frequently Asked Questions, to address any initial common concerns. As always, you may also send us a message at marketing@cornerstonebank.com, give us a call, or come talk to us at a branch if you have any additional questions.   

We appreciate and value your business!

On behalf of all of us at Cornerstone Bank, we deeply appreciate your continued business. Thank you in advance for joining us in our enthusiasm about this exciting moment and the abundance of possibilities it brings our bank, our communities, and of course, our customers.

Customers will experience no change in service.

FAQs

Why is Cornerstone Bank merging?

Cornerstone is not actually merging, but rather our holding company, SSB Community Bancorp, MHC, is merging with PeoplesBancorp, MHC, parent company to PeoplesBank. This decision comes after much thought, discussion, and due diligence. Simply put, it strengthens our financial position and enhances the long-term viability of our bank. By combining the resources of the two holding companies, we can continue to make banking as simple as possible, now with even more opportunities to do so.

What is a mutual holding company and how does it impact the Bank?

A mutual bank holding company is a type of bank holding company that is owned by its depositors or members rather than by shareholders. In this structure, the bank operates as a mutual institution, meaning it is owned by its customers rather than by investors who hold shares of stock. Mutual bank holding companies typically focus on serving the needs of their members rather than maximizing profits for shareholders.

Who are PeoplesBank and PeoplesBancorp, MHC?

PeoplesBank is a $4.4 billion mutual bank founded in 1885 to serve depositors, employees, and the community. The bank currently has 18 branches located in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut. Like us, it’s a mutual bank and shares our core value of delivering the best banking experience possible. It’s important to understand that we are merging with PeoplesBank Corp, not with PeoplesBank.  PeoplesBank will continue to operate as an independent bank after the merger is complete.

Will either bank be changing its name or logo?

No, this merger will only affect our holding company. Both Cornerstone and PeoplesBank will continue to operate as separate entities for the foreseeable future, with the same names, logos, and visual identities as before.

When is this taking place?

The intent to merge holding companies was unanimously supported by the  Boards of Directors for both holding companies on June 18th. It is now contingent on regulatory approval, as well as a majority vote by both the corporators of PeoplesBancorp, MHC as well as the corporators of SSB Community Bancorp, MHC.  We expect regulatory approval to occur sometime during the first quarter of 2025.

Is the bank being sold or acquired?

Neither. We’re the same people you know and trust. If anything, this decision reinforces the commitment to our charter as a mutual bank, and our ability to provide the best possible banking experiences to you and all who we serve.

How will this merger affect my accounts or cards?

It won’t. Your account information, debit cards, the processes you follow, and the level of service we provide will remain the same.

Will these changes impact the digital or in-person services I use?

No. The exceptional, personalized service we provide day-in and day-out through our digital and in-person experiences will remain unchanged. You will still see the same friendly faces you know and trust at your local branch, and there will be no changes to the products we offer or any of the resources we currently provide as a result of the holding company merger.  

What if I have more questions?

Please reach out! We are excited to answer all your questions relating to this merger. You may send us a message via email at marketing@cornerstonebank.com or better yet, come talk to us at a branch location.

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