Sterling Bancorp and Astoria Financial Corp. complete merger, plan layoffs

Sterling Bancorp and Astoria Financial Corp. complete merger, plan layoffs
Following a merger with Sterling Bancorp, Astoria Bank sites across Long Island, including this one in Williston Park, will now be known as Sterling National Bank. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Sterling Bancorp and Astoria Financial Corp. on Monday announced the completion of their merger, which company officials said will create a stronger regional bank but cost 230 workers their jobs.

According to a regulatory filing with the state Department of Labor, Sterling National Bank will eliminate 25 positions, while Astoria Bank will lose 205 positions.

One Astoria Bank Plaza in Lake Success will lay off 91 workers and One Jericho Plaza, in Jericho, will lay off 95 workers.

The layoffs are planned for Dec. 29, according to the notice. Linda Dunbar, a spokeswoman for Sterling Bancorp, said affected workers were notified before the company filed a WARN notice on Sept. 26.

Under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN act, companies with 50 or more full-time employees must file a 90-day notice of planned layoffs.

Since the stock-for-stock merger agreement, worth $2.2 billion, was announced in March, Dunbar said in an interview, the companies carefully looked over their operations.

“Since then we’ve been looking very diligently at what was the best configuration,” Dunbar said. “It’s really about how do we take these two banks and put them together in the best way possible for the clients and in a way that continues our strategy.”

Dunbar said the merger is expected generate $100 million in annual cost savings due to organizational and staff changes.

Sterling would not say which jobs are being eliminated.

Representatives from Sterling also said that the companies aimed to improve their offerings, expand their network of locations and create a regional bank that serves the need of both commercial customers and consumers.

“The completion of this transaction brings the best of Sterling and Astoria together, allowing us to expand our market place, to provide clients with an expanded network of locations, client-centric solutions and enhanced expertise at the new Sterling,” Sterling Bancorp President and CEO Jack Kopnisky said in a statement.

The combined bank will have approximately $30 billion in assets, according to the company, and will serve New York City, Westchester County, the Hudson Valley, Long Island and Northern New Jersey.

The combined company will use the Sterling Bancorp name, with its subsidiaries operating as Sterling National Bank.

“The consummation of the merger with Sterling creates a stronger institution for our shareholders as well as providing our clients with enhanced products and services tailored to their needs,” Monte Redman, president and CEO of Astoria Financial Corp., said in a statement.

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