Suffolk County National Bank's headquarters on East Second Street in downtown Riverhead. (Photo: Peter Blasl)
File photo: Peter Blasl

Suffolk Bancorp shareholders this week overwhelmingly approved the merger of Suffolk and People’s United Financial Inc.

The proposed merger was approved Thursday by a vote of more than 80 percent of the shares eligible to vote — and more than 97 percent of the votes cast at the meeting. Approval by at least 70 percent of the outstanding and eligible shares of common stock was necessary.

Shareholders also approved, on a non-binding, advisory basis, the compensation that certain executive officers of Suffolk may receive as a result of the merger. Several key officers will receive large cash and equity payments.

The merger must be approved by federal regulators and is subject to the terms of the agreement an plan of merger dated June 26. Once finalized, Suffolk Bancorp will into People’s United Financial Inc. and Suffolk County National Bank will merge into People’s United Bank.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Suffolk Bancorp shareholders will receive 2.225 shares of People’s United Financial stock for each Suffolk Bancorp share.

“We are very grateful to our shareholders for their overwhelming support of this transaction,” Suffolk president and CEO Howard Bluver said after Thursday’s vote. “With today’s vote, we move one step closer to completing the transaction with People’s United and further benefitting our shareholders, customers and the communities we serve.”

Bluver will become the New York market president of People’s United after the merger is completed.

Growth in the New York area remains one of the Bridgeport-based bank’s highest priorities, according to People’s United president and CEO Jack Barnes. The bank acquired the Bank of Smithtown in 2010 and Citizen’s Bank in 2012 and the acquisition of SCNB enhances density and customer convenience on Long Island and gives People’s greater access on the eastern end of Long Island, “where we don’t have a presence and where Suffolk has operated for 125 years,” Barnes said during a June 27 conference call with investors in which People’s announced the merger agreement.

People’s United Bank, founded in 1842, is a regional bank in the Northeast offering commercial and retail banking and wealth management services through a network of nearly 400 retail locations in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. It has more than $39 billion in assets.

SCNB, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Riverhead, is a community bank with 28 branches on Long Island. It has total assets of $2.3 billion.

Both banks said they hope to complete the merger by the end of the year.

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