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Bank to form holding company

Lancaster County-based Bank of Bird-in-Hand is seeking shareholder and regulatory approval to form a holding company, a common step for banks as they grow. 

The holding company would be called GELT Bancorp Inc., incorporating the Amish word for money. The bank also uses the word for its mobile branches, called Gelt buses.

Existing bank shareholders would become shareholders in GELT, which would be based in Bird-in-Hand.  The bank itself would become a subsidiary of the holding company.

Why is this happening: Holding companies give banks greater operational flexibility, allowing them, for example, to buy back stock, issue subordinated debt and operate more than one bank, according to Bank of Bird-in-Hand president and CEO Lori Maley. 

“Although we have no plans to do any of this, we believe that it is the right time to do this,” Maley said of creating a holding company.

Two-thirds of bank shareholders, who meet on June 17, must approve the holding company.

The move also needs a green light from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve Bank.

Maley expects to have all approvals in hand by August or September.

The background: Founded in 2013, Bank of Bird-in-Hand focuses on serving members of the Plain community in Central Pennsylvania.

Starting from its base in Lancaster, the bank now has fixed and mobile branches serving customers in Berks, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

As of March 31, the bank had assets of $1.4 billion.

Lancaster County-based Bank of Bird-in-Hand is seeking shareholder and regulatory approval to form a holding company, a common step for banks as they grow. 

The holding company would be called GELT Bancorp Inc., incorporating the Amish word for money. The bank also uses the word for its mobile branches, called Gelt buses.

Existing bank shareholders would become shareholders in GELT, which would be based in Bird-in-Hand.  The bank itself would become a subsidiary of the holding company.

Why is this happening: Holding companies give banks greater operational flexibility, allowing them, for example, to buy back stock, issue subordinated debt and operate more than one bank, according to Bank of Bird-in-Hand president and CEO Lori Maley. 

“Although we have no plans to do any of this, we believe that it is the right time to do this,” Maley said of creating a holding company.

Two-thirds of bank shareholders, who meet on June 17, must approve the holding company.

The move also needs a green light from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve Bank.

Maley expects to have all approvals in hand by August or September.

The background: Founded in 2013, Bank of Bird-in-Hand focuses on serving members of the Plain community in Central Pennsylvania.

Starting from its base in Lancaster, the bank now has fixed and mobile branches serving customers in Berks, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

As of March 31, the bank had assets of $1.4 billion.

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