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HARRISBURG, Pa. — As one of the first entities to bring trust services to credit unions back in the late 1990s, Sentry Trust Co. has changed hands several times. On Sept. 15, the trust firm was acquired by $3.3 billion Community Banks, Inc.’s subsidiary, CommunityBanks. This is the second time Chambersburg, Pa.-based Sentry has been acquired in two years. In March 2004, it was bought by Sun Bancorp, Inc. Six months later in October 2004, Sun Bancorp was acquired by Omega Financial Corp., a $2 billion financial holding company. With the latest acquisition, Sentry has become a part of CommunityBanks Trust & Asset Management, and will continue to operate as Sentry Trust Co. CommunityBanks operates 73 banking offices throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sentry’s CEO, Chuck Nelson, left the company in February, said David Poch, a spokesman for CommunityBanks. Poch said Sentry’s 10 employees will remain on staff.

Community Banks, Inc. has been on a buying and merger spree over the past year including an acquisition announcement to acquire a former credit union. September alone saw plans to merge with $57 million East Prospect State Bank in East Prospect, Pa., and $143 million BUCS Financial Corp. in Owings Mills, Md. BUCS is the former BUCS Federal Credit Union, which served employees of CareFirst/BlueCross/BlueShield. It converted into a mutual savings bank in 1998 and became one of the earliest credit union-to-bank charters in the nation. Both Community Banks’ mergers are expected to be finalized by the second quarter and April 2007, respectively. In May, it acquired Mt. Joy, Pa.-based Wiley Insurance Agency, Inc. and last July it bought Blue Ball National Bank, which boosted Community Banks’ assets to $3.5 billion at the time.

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