Area banking company to be acquired by Indiana firm

Area banking company to be acquired by Indiana firm

PARIS — The parent company of Citizens National Bank in Paris has agreed to be acquired by a north central Indiana banking company.

Under the agreement announced this week, First Citizens of Paris would become a subsidiary of First Farmers Financial Corp., based in Converse, Ind.

Citizens National Bank — which has two offices in Paris, one in Oakland and one in Terre Haute, Ind. — would be merged into First Farmers' subsidiary bank, First Farmers Bank & Trust.

That bank, based in Converse (population 1,148), has 20 offices, several of them in larger Indiana cities, such as Kokomo, Logansport, Marion and Wabash.

The transaction is expected to close late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2012, subject to regulatory approval.

Gene Miles, president and CEO of First Farmers, said markets served by First Citizens are similar to those served by First Farmers.

"We are very confident that the philosophy of our organization will fit in well in these communities," he said in a statement released by the bank.

Miles said he was especially excited to expand on First Citizens' agricultural customer base.

Bill Minnis, president and CEO of First Citizens, said First Farmers will provide "the financial strength and resources" needed to serve First Citizens' customers, particularly its agricultural customers.

First Farmers is about four times the size of First Citizens. The Indiana-based banking company had $875 million in assets as of Sept. 30, compared with First Citizens' $205 million in assets.

Under the terms of the agreement, First Farmers will pay First Citizens' shareholders cash equal to 101 percent of the bank's adjusted book value on the effective date of the transaction.

Had the transaction taken place Sept. 30, the price would have been about $16.86 million, with First Citizens' shareholders receiving about $78.12 per share.

Citizens National Bank received a 3-star ("adequate") rating from the BauerFinancial bank rating service, based on data submitted to regulators as of Sept. 30.

Citizens National has been profitable this year, producing $240,000 in net income during the third quarter and $533,000 in net income for the first nine months of the year.

But the bank's non-performing assets made up a relatively high percentage of average tangible assets, topping 6 percent in the most recent quarter.

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