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Five Star Bank's parent launches $40 million stock offering

The parent company of Five Star Bank this week announced a public offering of $40 million of common stock, as it considers making more deals to bolster its insurance and wealth management businesses.

Warsaw-based Financial Institutions has made a stronger push into the Buffalo market, in light of KeyBank's acquisition of First Niagara Bank. Five Star recently opened its first branch within the City of Buffalo, at Fountain Plaza.

The bank previously acquired Amherst-based insurance agency Scott Danahy Naylon and Courier Capital Management, which has offices in Buffalo and Jamestown, to diversify its sources of revenue.

"Our primary focus will be on increasing market share within existing markets, while taking advantage of potential growth opportunities within our insurance and wealth management lines of business by acquiring new businesses that can be added to existing operations," the bank said in its prospectus.

Bank executives on Tuesday declined to comment before the completion of the transaction, which could come next week. But in the prospectus, Financial Institutions said it will use net proceeds from the offering to "support organic growth and other general corporate purposes," including contributing capital to its Five Star Bank subsidiary.

The bank also expects to grant the offering's underwriters, Sandler O'Neill and Partners, a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15 percent of the shares sold in the offering.

Financial Institutions has $3.86 billion in assets and about 650 employees. It has 53 Five Star branches in 15 counties in Western and Central New York.

The stock offering is another sign of how banks are trying to make greater inroads in the Buffalo market since Key acquired First Niagara. Earlier this year, Hamburg-based Evans Bancorp raised $14.2 million through a stock offering, stockpiling financial fuel for growth.

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