Associated adding heft near St. Louis with First Staunton acquisition

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Associated Banc-Corp in Green Bay, Wis., has agreed to buy First Staunton Bancshares in Illinois.

The $33 billion-asset Associated said in a press release Thursday that it will pay $76.3 million in cash for the $543 million-asset parent of First National Bank in Staunton. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

First National Bank in Staunton is family owned and serves more than 30,000 customers around southern Illinois and St. Louis. It has $439 million in deposits.

"We have great respect for First National Bank in Staunton and their commitment to providing quality financial services to their customers,” Philip Flynn, Associated’s president and CEO, said in the release.

“Our organizations are built around customer-centric strategies and understand the importance of delivering increasing value to both the customers and the communities we serve," Flynn added. “This acquisition provides the opportunity to increase our Illinois presence and improve the scale of our operations.”

Gina Lotter, First National Bank in Staunton's chief operations officer, and Brian Ury, the bank’s chief lending officer, will join Associated. They will focus on client retention and employee engagement.

Associated said it expects the deal to be accretive to its 2020 earnings per common share, excluding merger-related charges. The deal should dilute Associated’s tangible book value by less than 1%.

Howard & Howard advised Associated. Gerrish Smith Tuck and Polsinelli advised First Staunton.

Separately, Associated reported that its second-quarter earnings fell 5% from a year earlier to $84.7 million. Net interest income fell by 6% to $213.6 million, while noninterest income increased by 3% to $95.8 million.

Total loans increased slightly, while the net interest margin narrowed by 15 basis points to 2.87%.

Noninterest expenses decreased by 6% to $197.8 million.

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