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Community Bank's acquisition leads to consolidation plan

New York Community Bank's acquisition of a failed Ohio bank is permitting some efficiencies, officials at the Westbury-based company said Thursday.

New York Community last month bought AmTrust with the help of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. In addition to $9.7 billion in assets and 66 branches in Ohio, Florida and Arizona, the deal is giving the company some other opportunities, too.

One of those is the chance to consolidate its information technology operations. New York Community Bank has two centers, one in Westbury and another in Hauppauge, and acquired AmTrust's in Cleveland.

Executive vice president Ilene Angarola said the bank will consolidate its Long Island information technology operations in Hauppauge, with no job loss or gain, and will use the Cleveland site as a disaster recovery center for data.

In a phone conference Wednesday with analysts, bank chairman, president and chief executive Joseph Ficalora said he was pleased that almost all former AmTrust depositors had stayed with the bank.

AmTrust shed about 1,200 employees in the months before it failed. Angarola said New York Community Bank will hire several dozen employees to beef up the former AmTrust branches.

Ficalora said the successful integration of AmTrust increases the chances of acquiring other banks in its new markets.

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