Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 31, 2011

First Bank of Berne to acquire local bank

Deal for American Trust expected to close by fourth quarter

From staff reports

The First Bank of Berne announced a purchase agreement Thursday to take over AmericanTrust Federal Savings Bank, headquartered in Peru.

In a statement, Berne officials said the bank will purchase most loans and substantially all other banking-related assets and assume all deposits and related liabilities of AmericanTrust.

Under the terms of the Agreement, Berne will acquire all three AmericanTrust locations in Peru, Kokomo and Bunker Hill, purchase most of the loans, investments, accrued interest receivable and other banking-related assets with an estimated value of approximately $83 million and assume all the deposits, Federal Home Loan Bank advances and accrued interest payable of approximately $84 million.

Berne officials said the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Donald Cates, president of AmericanTrust said in a statement, “While the bank’s name will be changing, our employees’ commitment to providing unmatched customer service will remain the same. First Bank of Berne will provide expanded product and service opportunities for our customers.”

First Bank of Berne President and CEO Kent A. Liechty said, “We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to expand our market presence into north central Indiana. We are proud of the contribution our employees make to our communities, and we plan to continue that commitment to the Peru, Kokomo and Bunker Hill communities. As an employee-owned bank, we realize the importance of remaining close to our customers and building lifetime relationships. We are well capitalized and eager to serve the unique loan, investment, and deposit needs of each community.”

Established in 1891, First Bank of Berne had consolidated assets of $426 million as of June 30 and currently operates eight offices in Berne, Bluffton, Decatur and Portland, Ind., and VanWert, Ohio.

Established in 1886, American Trust currently operates three offices in Peru, Bunker Hill, and Kokomo.