North Fork Bank buys out Queens’ GreenPoint sites

By Ayala Ben-Yehuda

North Fork Bancorporation announced Monday it will take over GreenPoint Financial Corp. in a $6.3 billion stock transaction that will put more than 50 local bank branches in Queens under the same umbrella.

The acquisition will create the New York metropolitan area’s largest regional bank and the country’s 16th largest bank holding company, a North Fork news release said.

The takeover will combine “North Fork’s formidable commercial and community banking capabilities and GreenPoint’s highly successful consumer banking and mortgage businesses,” the company said. “Customer disruption will be at an absolute minimum.”

The transaction is set for completion in the fourth quarter of this year.

Newsday reported that almost all GreenPoint branches will retain their names and some North Fork branches will take GreenPoint’s name. Some administrative jobs will also be cut, the newspaper reported.

Melville, L.I.-based North Fork operates 35 branches in Queens. Manhattan-based GreenPoint, which began in 1868 as a savings bank in Brooklyn, has 20 branches across Queens and a regional banking headquarters in Lake Success in Nassau County, just over the border from Queens.

GreenPoint caused a furor when it relocated its Queens headquarters in Flushing to Lake Success in 1996, taking with it more than 600 jobs. In explaining the move, bank officials said at the time that Nassau had offered the company financial incentives while Queens had not.

Shares of GreenPoint Financial Corp., New York’s second largest savings and loan, were down $1.58 percent to $45.25 and North Fork was down 38 cents to $43.37 when the markets closed Tuesday.

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