Busey climbs back to top of bank ratings

UPDATED 11:35 a.m. Friday.

Busey Bank has regained BauerFinancial's top rating after four years of lower ratings.

Busey was among 41 area banks given a 5-star ("superior") rating by the bank rating service, based on data for the quarter that ended March 31.

The Champaign-based bank's ratings deteriorated in 2009, dipping as low as 3-star ("adequate") as a result of Busey's exposure to southwest Florida's hard-hit housing market.

But the bank managed to claw its way back, climbing to 3-star ("good") and 4-star ("excellent") in 2011 before finally moving to 5-star this year.

Van Dukeman, CEO of the bank's holding company, First Busey, said he was pleased Busey has returned to a 5-star rating.

"There's been a lot of hard work from our associates and support from our customers and shareholders," he said, adding a superior rating is important to the customer base.

Also rising from 4-star to 5-star in the most recent quarter were: Hickory Point Bank & Trust; First National Bank of Sullivan; and Illinois National Bank, which has an office in Fairmount. Illinois National's rating had fallen as low as 2-star in 2008.

Fisher National Bank, meanwhile, climbed from 3-1/2-star to 4-star in the most recent quarter. (An earlier version of this story erred in these numbers.)

In a significant upgrade, CIBM Bank — which operates as Central Illinois Bank in this area — improved from 2-star ("problematic") to 3-star. It had been rated 2-star since late 2009.

Brian Chaffin, the bank's market president, said he was "very pleased" with the upgrade. He said the bank's performance has been improving "for a while now" and he's glad the rating service recognized that.

Central Illinois Bank's upgrade means that no area banks now hold BauerFinancial's three lowest ratings — 2-star, 1-star ("troubled") or zero stars ("lowest rating").

Two area banks were downgraded in the latest ratings: BankChampaign, which dropped from 4-star to 3-1/2-star; and Villa Grove State Bank, which fell from 5-star to 4-star.

BankChampaign President Mark Ballard said the lower rating likely came as the result of collateral the bank had taken back from the estate of a loan client who died.

He said the collateral has since been sold for nearly its appraised value, so as of June 30, the bank's balance sheet should be back to normal.

"We are still on track to have our best year ever in terms of net income," he said.

Sixty-eight banks in East Central Illinois maintained their previous quarter's rating.

BauerFinancial bases its ratings on capital ratios, profitability trends, levels of delinquent loans, charge-offs and repossessed assets, liquidity, historical data and supervisory ratings by regulatory agencies.

BauerFinancial is one of several bank-rating services. It differentiates itself from others by making its ratings accessible to the public.

Here's the breakdown of its ratings of 76 banks with offices in East Central Illinois based on data from the quarter that ended March 31:

5 stars ("superior")

41 banks

Arcola First Bank; Bank of Rantoul; Buckley State Bank; Busey Bank; Cissna Park State Bank; Commerce Bank; Community Bank of Hoopeston; DeWitt Savings Bank, Clinton; Farmer City State Bank; Farmers State Bank, Danforth; First Bank & Trust Savings Bank, Paris; First Federal Savings & Loan, Mattoon; First Financial Bank of Terre Haute, Ind.; First National Bank & Trust, Clinton; The First National Bank, Mattoon; First National Bank in Paxton; First National Bank of Chrisman; First National Bank of Nokomis; First National Bank of Sullivan; First Neighbor Bank, Toledo; First Savings Bank, Danville; First State Bank, Monticello; First Trust and Savings Bank, Watseka; Hardware State Bank, Lovington; Heartland Bank & Trust, Bloomington; Hickory Point Bank & Trust; Illinois National Bank; Iroquois Farmers State Bank; Iroquois Federal Savings and Loan; Peoples Bank & Trust; Philo Exchange Bank; Prairie State Bank & Trust; Scott State Bank, Bethany; Sidell State Bank; Soy Capital Bank & Trust, Decatur; State Bank of Arthur; State Bank of Bement; State Bank of Cerro Gordo; State Bank of Lincoln; Tuscola National Bank; Vermilion Valley Bank, Piper City.

4 stars ("excellent")

19 banks

Citizens State Bank, Milford; Dewey Bank; Edgar County Bank & Trust; Farmers-Merchants National Bank, Paxton; First Federal Savings Bank of Champaign-Urbana; First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust; First National Bank in Georgetown; First National Bank of Ogden; Fisher National Bank; Flanagan State Bank; Gifford State Bank; Kenney Bank & Trust; Midland States Bank; Old National Bank; State Farm Bank; Sumner National Bank, Sheldon; United Community Bank, Oakwood; Villa Grove State Bank; Woodforest National Bank.

3 1/2 stars ("good")

10 banks

BankChampaign; Bank of Gibson City; First Midwest Bank; First National Bank of Catlin; JP MorganChase; MainSource Bank; Marine Bank, Springfield; PNC Bank; Regions Bank; State Bank of Chrisman.

3 stars ("adequate")

Six banks

Bank of America; CIBM Bank; Citizens National Bank, Paris; Federated Bank, Onarga; Longview State Bank, Sidney; Milford Building & Loan.

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787 wrote on June 08, 2012 at 10:06 am

Maybe Busey now needs to bump up the compensation of their executives by another huge amount again next year...

Is Van Dukeman really worth $750,000 a year?