Patriot National to acquire Prime Bank in Orange

Patriot National Bancorp, parent company of Patriot Bank, continued its push into the New Haven County market Wednesday, announcing an agreement to acquire Prime Bank in Orange.

Patriot Bank already has a branch office in Milford. But it is the Stamford-based bank’s only New Haven County location, so the acquisition of Prime Bank, which has only one branch, will increase Patriot Bank’s presence in southwestern New Haven County.

Full terms of the deal were not released, but the acquisition will be paid for in cash, according to Patriot National officials. The deal is subject to approval by Prime’s shareholders and banking regulators.

Patriot National officials said Prime shareholders will receive aggregate cash payment equal to 115 percent of Prime’s tangible book value as of the deal’s closing date, which is expected to occur sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. Prime Bank’s tangible book value as of June 30 was approximately $9 million.

“The acquisition of Prime Bank will support our operating goals of extending Patriot Bank’s footprint, building scale, and improving key operating metrics, all of which ultimately adds value for our shareholders and customers,” Michael Carrazza, Patriot chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Jasper Jaser, Prime’s chief executive officer, said the deal “meets the objectives of our shareholders, customers and employees.” Officials with both banks did not provide information regarding the number of employees that Prime has.

“Our customers will benefit from increased services and expanded product and lending capabilities,” Jaser said in a statement.

John Carusone, president of the Bank Analysis Center, a Hartford-based industry consulting firm, said the acquisition of Prime continues Patriot Bank’s rise from near financial ruin in 2010.

It was founded in 1994 by Fred DeCaro Jr., who was a principal in several Westchester County automobile dealerships, according to Carusone. But a series of bad loans that were made to luxury home developers nearly ruined the bank after Connecticut’s market for expensive real estate took a nosedive during the last recession, he said.

Carrazza, a former Goldman Sachs executive, stepped in with an investor group and recapitalized Patriot National with $60 million. Then Carrazza and his fellow investors bought out the bank shareholders “for pennies on the dollar,” according to Carusone.

Read more at the New Haven Register