First Merchants Corp. in Muncie, Ind., has agreed to buy a minority stake in Independent Alliance Banks in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The $6.9 billion-asset First Merchants disclosed in a regulatory filing Monday that will pay private investor Leland Boren and eight affiliated trusts $19.8 million for a 12.1% ownership interest in the $1 billion-asset Independent Alliance.

First Merchants said it expects to complete the purchase in the fourth quarter.

"It's a high-performing bank in a very attractive market," Mark Hardwick, First Merchants' chief operating officer and chief financial officer, said in an interview. "We have great respect for their management team and will continue to build a deeper relationship and partnership with them."

Independent Alliance, the parent of iAB Financial Bank, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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