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Freedom Bank shareholders vote on merger with Seacoast

Margie Manning



Freedom Bank in St. Petersburg

Fourth Street Banking Co., the parent company of Freedom Bank, expects to close on its sale to Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida on Friday.

Fourth Street Banking shareholders approved the sale by a wide margin Tuesday, said Cathy Swanson,  CEO.

Cathy Swanson, CEO, Freedom Bank

“We have been planning now for several months so upon closing, we are ready for conversion of our current Freedom systems into Seacoast’s.  Freedom signs will come down over the weekend and Monday morning we open as Seacoast Bank,” Swanson said.

Freedom Bank, with $392.2 million in total assets as of June 30 and two branches in St. Petersburg, is one of just two community banks headquartered in St. Petersburg. When Fourth Street Banking’s deal with Seacoast closes, First Home Bank will be the only St. Petersburg-based community bank. First Home had $1.47 billion in total assets as of June 30.

Related story: St. Petersburg community bank tops $1 billion in assets

Each share of stock of Fourth Street Banking will be converted into 0.1275 share of Seacoast Banking Corp. (Nasdaq: SBCF). Seacoast expects to issue about 2,119,721 shares to Fourth Street shareholders, according to a July 17 prospectus. That would value the deal at $43 million, based on Seacoast’s closing stock price of $20.29 a share on Tuesday.

Seacoast, based in Stuart, Florida, had $8.1 billion in total assets as of June 30. The company, the parent of Seacoast Bank, provides financial services including commercial and retail banking, wealth management, and mortgage services to customers through advanced banking solutions and 50 traditional branches, with offices from Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach north through the Daytona Beach area, into Orlando and Central Florida and the Tampa-St. Petersburg market. Seacoast Bank currently has four offices in the area, two in Tampa, one in Belleair Bluffs and one in downtown St. Petersburg.

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