The state Department of Banking approved Tuesday the merger of the Wilton Bank with and into the Bankwell Bank.

Additionally, the FDIC has stated that it has no objections to the merger, successfully completing all regulatory required approvals, according to a release from Bankwell.

The New Canaan-based Bankwell Financial Group Inc. is the parent company of Bankwell Bank.

With the completion of the merger, the acquisition will increase Bankwell's assets by approximately $71.4 million, including $65 million in deposits. In connection with the merger, the company is issuing aggregate cash of approximately $5 million to Wilton Bank shareholders.

Bankwell projects the acquisition of the Wilton Bank to be accretive to earnings in the first year of the combined operations.

Bankwell Financial Group management team and board of directors, led by Peyton R. Patterson, president and CEO, will continue to lead the combined team of professional bankers. Charles Howell, former CEO of the Wilton Bank, will leave the company.

Patterson said, "We are proud of the hard work accomplished as we prepare to finalize our first acquisition and we look forward to the successful blending of our two like-minded community banks -- each a stand-out for its excellent customer service and focus on community. The merger completes an important step in our long-term strategy to expand our presence in Fairfield County. This growth enhances opportunities for businesses, customer relationships, employees and the communities we serve."

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Bankwell will bring an array of new products and services to the Wilton Bank client base and the Wilton community, including investment services. With its competitive pricing and $8 million lending capability, Bankwell also brings a team of commercial lenders to support local business needs.

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, a Stifel Company, served as financial adviser to Bankwell Financial Group. and Sandler O'Neill & Partners, L.P. served as financial adviser to the Wilton Bank. Serving as legal adviser to Bankwell was Robinson & Cole, LLP and to the Wilton Bank, Hinkley, Allen & Snyder, LLP.

Bankwell was recently created from the merger of the Bank of New Canaan and the Bank of Fairfield, and operates branches in New Canaan, Fairfield and Stamford and a loan production office in Bridgeport.

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