A bank merger making news in the Region today. First Merchants Corporation out of Muncie and Munster-based CFS Bancorp have announced plans to merge Citizens Financial Bank into First Merchants Bank. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals. The combined company, doing business as First Merchants Bank expects to complete the integration during the first quarter of 2014, with nearly 100 banking offices in twenty-six Indiana counties, and two counties in Illinois and Ohio.
First Merchants and CFS will have combined assets of $5.4 billion and create the second largest financial holding company headquartered in Indiana. The combined company will have nearly 100 banking offices in twenty-six Indiana counties, as well as two counties in both Ohio and Illinois.
Michael C. Rechin, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Merchants, said, “Like First Merchants, Citizens has a long history of deep-rooted commitment to community banking and we are excited that it will become the newest member of the First Merchants family. We believe that our strategy to be a service-driven alternative to our super-regional bank competitors will support the acceleration of the Citizens’ current initiatives while furthering our goal of becoming a more efficient higher performing company. The Citizens franchise is a logical geographic extension for us given the 20-mile proximity of our nearest branch locations. Citizens’ markets in Northwest Indiana, and specifically Valparaiso, Merrillville, Schererville, Crown Point and Munster, are very similar to Lafayette, Plainfield and Greenwood Indiana markets. We believe our partnership will provide our business and consumer customers with broader services, greater access and expanded product offerings, while maintaining our legacy of local community banking.