15 May, 2020

South Florida Bank Merger Canceled

Apollo Bank and Suncoast Credit Union canceled its definitive merger agreement following a series of regulatory delays tied to the Covid-19 pandemic, the companies announced Monday.

"These unforeseen delays made proceeding with the merger untenable," the Miami-based bank said in a statement. "While disappointed by this development, both Suncoast and Apollo are keeping focused on providing trusted guidance and support to our clients and communities during this critical time.”

The companies agreed to "mutually withdraw" the merger application as a result of ongoing delays in the regulatory approval process.

Apollo CEO Eddy Arriola said the companies' decided to end the merger because they had no clear indication of when it would close. Regulators from the National Credit Union Administration completed an on-site exam of Apollo in early March, and the deal had been on track to close by July 1.

"That was before the health and economic astroid known as Covid-19 hit the planet and changed everything," Arriola told the South Florida Business Journal.

As a result of the economic uncertainty stemming from the global pandemic, the NCUA said the merger likely wouldn't be approved in the "forseeable future," Arriola said.

"I took that to mean at least 12 months," he said. "We considered what we could do to keep the deal alive, but decided it would be in our best interest to mutually separate."

Noting that Apollo and Suncoast were "a great cultural fit," Arriola said he would be open to revisiting the merger after the Covid-19 crisis.

In a statement, Suncoast CEO Kevin Johnson said the economic disruption caused by Covid-19 forced both companies to reexamine the acquisition.

"Both parties have come to an amicable agreement with no harm or malice, believing that the current conditions no longer represent a viable option that would allow the acquisition to move forward," he said.

Suncoast, the state's largest credit union, announced in December it planned to acquire the Miami-based bank for an undisclosed sum. The deal would have been the 12th of its kind in Florida and the largest bank acquisition by a credit union in the state.

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