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First Merchants, Community Bank to merge

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Muncie-based First Merchants Corporation has agreed to acquire Noblesville-based Community Bancshares, Inc. and Community Bank will merge into First Merchants Bank.  Officials said the agreement is worth approximately $46.3 million.

The merger is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015 after shareholder and regulatory approvals.

“Like First Merchants, Community Bank has a deep-rooted commitment to community banking and we are excited for it to become the newest member of the First Merchants family. The addition of Community Bank supports our goal of becoming a more efficient, higher performing company,” First Merchants CEO Michael C. Rechin stated. “From Community Bank’s beginning in 1991, Chuck Crow and his management team have played a pivotal role serving Hamilton and Madison County commercial and consumer clients.”

First Merchants has nearly 100 banking offices around the state, primarily in central Indiana. The Community Bank franchise will add seven locations including six banking centers in Hamilton County.

Community CEO Charles L. Crow, president Larry W. Riggs and executive vice president Russell W. Freed will join the First Merchants management team as part of the merger.

“We are excited about the opportunity to become part of the First Merchants family, and believe this partnership will be good for our clients, shareholders, staff and communities,” Crow stated. “The core values of both companies share a commitment to local decision making, personal service, long-term relationships and community involvement.”

Based upon current financials, First Merchants and Community Bancshares will have combined assets of $5.7 billion and will remain the second largest financial holding company headquartered in Indiana.


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