The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher
Nothing is going to change except to get better for customers and employees assured Ron Peterson, President of Lamoine Bancorp., Inc. and First State Bank of Western Illinois, in a telephone interview after a press release was received announcing the merger of Lamoine Bancorp, Inc. with First State Bancorporation, Inc.
First State Bancorporation, Inc., of which Peterson is one of the investors, will become the parent company of First State Bank of Western Illinois.
According to Peterson, "the Board of Directors of Lamoine Bancorp, Inc. has agreed in principal to the merger and transfer of ownership to First State Bancorporation, Inc. subject to a vote of the shareholders (next month) and the required regulatory approvals."
Peterson's announcement states further, "the merger represents a change of control only. The name of the bank, First State Bank of Western Illinois, will not change and will continue to be operated as usual."
Mr. Peterson will remain President of First State Bank of Western Illinois and it is the intent of the acquirer to retain all other existing officers and employees.
First State Bancorporation, Inc. represents a newly formed, multi bank holding company capitalized by an experienced, local group of western Illinois investors, one of the lead investors, a C.P.A. from Sherrard.
First State Bancorporation, Inc. will also be acquiring 100% of the common stock of the State Bank of Colusa. It is the intent of the acquirer to retain all existing officers and employees of the State Bank of Colusa.
In the near future, the State Bank of Colusa will merge with and become a branch of First State Bank of Western Illinois.
For the last twenty years, since the holding company of Lamoine Bancorp., Inc. was formed, Ron Peterson said, they have grown to $24 million and six locations, and now to $200 million and 7 locations with the new addition of "State Bank of Colusa."
"It is about long-term profitability," Peterson said. "It is more and more difficult with the capital we have available in western Illinois."
Peterson said they knew that sometime in the future they needed to go outside this area, pointing out the declining population.
"We are going to stay right here," but for the economics and future of the bank we needed to reach out into areas of Chicago, Peoria, and Bloomington.
Peterson said that this particular group of investors had not invested into the banking industry before.
One of the principal investors is an associate of Peterson's who he has known for some time. Peterson is also one of the investors.
Peterson says he will remain as President for now. He has been with the bank for 40 years and came to First State Bank of La Harpe in 1968 with bank assets at $3.5 million and he can be proud of its growth to $200 million as it merges into 7 locations when this is final.
Peterson says he feels good not only about its growth, but its future and that the banks will remain under the same name and in the same location with the same services.
Peterson said at their announcement of the merger to their staff on Monday, they were excited to hear about their retention and further growth.
"We will be able to offer expanded services and be more innovative with the added capital," he said bringing such things as mobile banking on telephone.
Peterson also said employees and shareholders are happy as well, "Shareholders received an excellent price for their stock and it has put us in a good position."
As Feds lowered interest rates again Tuesday to 2.25%, bank officials at La Harpe are looking toward the future and are feeling good about their merger and strong position of First State Bank of Western Illinois in the financial world.
For those with questions, bank officials welcome your visits. Their umbrella may have a new corporate name, but they are assuring customers, it's the same reputable staff underneath serving you.