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Close to 25 percent of First Busey borrowers are in Florida

URBANA – Nearly one-quarter of First Busey Corp.'s loans are to borrowers in southwest Florida, the Urbana-based bank holding company disclosed in its quarterly report to the Securities & Exchange Commission last week.

Altogether, the company has $756.2 million in loans in southwest Florida, or 23.9 percent of its total loan portfolio of $3.12 billion, according to the report filed last Friday.


Christie chief says clinic's plans to move still up in the air

CHAMPAIGN – Will they move or will they stay?


3 area banking firms post gains in second-quarter earnings

Three area banking companies reported second-quarter earnings this week, with all three recording increases from the same period last year.

– Centrue Financial, the parent company of Centrue Bank, which has an office in Champaign, reported net income of $2.7 million, up 8 percent from a year ago, and diluted earnings per share of 44 cents, up 16 percent from a year ago.


Nonprofit group's director wants Paxton, Gibson City to team up

PAXTON – The new leader of a nonprofit group dedicated to improving Ford County's economy thinks Paxton and Gibson City could easily compete with their Champaign County neighbor, Rantoul, to attract new businesses and economic growth if they work toward one common goal.

Diane Johnson, in her new part-time position as executive director of the Community Economic Development Foundation, said she hopes to strengthen working relationships between Paxton and Gibson City. She thinks it's in the best interest of both cities when new business or industry comes to either town.


First Mid-Illinois Bancshares' net income rises 12 percent

MATTOON – First Mid-Illinois Bancshares saw its second-quarter net income jump 12 percent from a year ago.

The Mattoon-based bank holding company on Friday reported net income of $2.694 million for the quarter that ended June 30, compared with $2.407 million for the same quarter a year ago.


Economy forces electrical workers' credit union to merge with UI

CHAMPAIGN – This year didn't get off to a good start for the Electrical Workers 601 Credit Union in Champaign.

The 54-year-old credit union, with 815 members, reported a staggering $202,000 loss for the first quarter of 2008. The credit union had a high percentage of loans classified as "nonperforming" – loans where principal and interest payments weren't being met.


Champaign County's jobless rate at highest in 18 years

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign County's unemployment rate has jumped to the highest point in at least 18 years – and is no longer one of the lowest in the state.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday that 6.5 percent of the county's labor force was out of work and looking for a job in June. That was up from 4.9 percent in May.


First Busey blames Florida market for 65% drop in earnings

URBANA – First Busey Corp. took a big hit as its second-quarter earnings dropped 65 percent from the same period a year ago.

The Urbana-based bank holding company attributed many of its problems to its southwest Florida market, where a once-hot housing market turned sour last year.


Weak economy has Arcola Antique Mall owners closing up

ARCOLA – After 10 years in the Arcola location, Sam and Carolyn Martin have decided to close the doors on the Arcola Antique Mall and retire.

Carolyn Martin cited a weak economy as the main reason for deciding to shut down.


Economic seminar cites positives in Ford County

GIBSON CITY – With rising agricultural output and increased property values, employment and retail sales, Ed Scharlau said the glass is more than half full economically in Ford County.

"Very few counties the size of Ford County in the United States would have positive figures like these," said Scharlau, vice chairman of Urbana-based First Busey Corp. Scharlau spoke to about 70 community leaders last week at a Busey Bank economic seminar held at the Railside Golf Club in Gibson City.