Rockland Trust completes purchase of Mayflower Bank

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Rockland Trust continued its expansion this week with the $37 million purchase of Mayflower Bank of Plymouth.

Independent Bank Corp., Rockland's parent company, converted four of Mayflower's branches to the Rockland Trust brand following the recent approval of the acquisition by the state Division of Banks. Rockland Trust plans to sell the remaining four Mayflower branches.

With the addition of the Mayflower branches, Rockland Trust's network grows to 80 offices across Massachusetts. Rockland is the second-largest community bank in the state.

Rockland Trust, headquartered in Rockland, has acquired smaller banks at a steady clip in recent years, expanding from its base south of Boston into the northern and western suburbs. It bought Central Bancorp of Somerville last year and Benjamin Franklin Bancorp of Franklin in 2009.

As smaller banks buckle under complicated regulations that followed the recent financial crisis, there will be more opportunities for institutions such as Rockland Trust to buy them, said Mark Fitzgibbon, a bank analyst with Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP in New York. Some community banks cannot afford to hire lawyers and compliance officers to ensure they are meeting the new rules. "It's putting an enormous amount of pressure on small banks to partner with somebody else," Fitzgibbon said.