Hudson City Plans on May 1 to Complete M&T Deal From 2012

Hudson City Bancorp Inc., whose proposed sale to M&T Bank Corp. is the industry’s biggest and longest pending merger, said it plans to complete the deal by May 1.

Hudson City notified participants in its employee stock ownership and incentive bonus plans that a blackout period is expected to begin on April 21, limiting transactions involving the shares, the Paramus, New Jersey-based lender said Monday in a regulatory filing.

The deal, originally announced in 2012 for $3.7 billion, has been repeatedly stalled amid a Federal Reserve review of M&T’s money-laundering controls. Buffalo, New York-based M&T pledged to improve compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and invested more than $60 million while hiring employees and consultants to bolster its systems.

“The merger may ultimately occur on a different date, or not at all,” and remains dependent on regulatory approval, Hudson City said in the filing.

The takeover’s delay, which analysts have called one of the longest in U.S. banking history, exacerbated a slump in mergers among the nation’s largest lenders. Since the financial crisis, U.S. regional banks have increasingly bought pieces of rivals instead of acquiring whole firms to avoid the pitfalls of increased regulatory scrutiny of too-big-to-fail lenders.

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