Community Bank System acquires employee benefits firm

Community Bank System in DeWitt, New York, has acquired Fringe Benefits Design, a Bloomington, Minnesota-based provider of retirement plan administration and benefits consulting services.

Fringe Benefits Design will become a consultant of the $14.6 billion-asset Community’s Benefit Plans Administrative Services unit, the bank said in a Friday announcement. The deal pushes BPAS’ projected annual revenue to $110 million, and gives it 510,000 retirement plan participation accounts and $110 billion of total assets in trust.

Fringe Benefits Design’s roots go back to 1990, when it was created from the merger of two Minneapolis administration firms. It acts as a retirement plan administrator, consultant and record keeper.

The deal “will strengthen and complement our existing BPAS businesses, and represents an attractive opportunity to expand our benefits business in the Midwest,” Community President and CEO Mark Tryniski said in a press release. The companies did not disclose the price of the deal.

Employee benefits services represent the largest single source of noninterest income for Community, generating revenue totaling $26.5 million during the first quarter of 2021 and $101.3 million for the full year 2020. If it hits the new 2021 revenue target for the segment, Community will achieve a combined annual growth rate of 13.28% since 2011.

Fringe Benefits design is Community’s fifth employee benefits acquisition since 2011, but the first since 2018, when it acquired HR Consultants in Puerto Rico.

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