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Metro, Republic First need more time to close merger

The two small banks have extended the closing deadline to March 31, but that could pushed back depending on what the regulators say.

Two small banks have extended their engagement to March 31, 2010.

Metro Bancorp Inc., of Harrisburg, agreed to buy Republic First Bancorp Inc., of Philadelphia, in a stock transaction valued at $113 million in November 2008.

Shareholders of both publicly traded banks had approved the transaction in mid-March.

The two banks had hoped to seal the deal by July 31. But when they hadn't received regulatory approval by then, they pushed back the closing date to Oct. 31, with a possible extension to Dec. 31.

With days to spare before the end of 2009, they set a new deadline of March 31, but that could be extended to June 30 if needed regulatory approvals are not in hand by March 1.

Republic First is being championed by Commerce Bank founder Vernon Hill. Metro had been an affiliate of Commerce Bank and was not part of the acquisition by TD Bank.

Shares of both banks fell yesterday. Republic First closed at $4.10, down 6 cents, while Metro closed at $11.47, down 10 cents.

In Retirement

Eighteen months after the $4.4 billion sale of the insurance company he'd founded, James J. Maguire will retire Jan. 1.

His son, Jamie, who is now president and CEO of Philadelphia Insurance Cos., will succeed him as chairman.

James Maguire started his Maguire Insurance Agency four years after graduating from St. Joseph's University in 1958. That gives him 47 years of sweat equity in a company that he took public in 1987.

In the summer of 2008, Japanese insurance giant Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. agreed to buy what had become Philadelphia Consolidated Holding Corp., of Bala Cynwyd.

In a statement Tuesday, Jamie Maguire said his father would remain on the property and casualty insurer's board of directors and spend more time on his philanthropic efforts. James Maguire donated $10 million to St. Joseph's University in September 2005 to support its purchase of the former Episcopal Academy campus.

Philadelphia Insurance employs about 600 people in Bala Cynwyd. It also sponsors many athletic events in the region, including the annual Philadelphia Triathlon.