First Midwest Bancorp Inc. in Itasca, Ill., has added a four-person team to its recently formed asset-based lending division. 

The $7.8 billion-asset company said this week that the group will focus on middle-market companies that need between $2 million and $25 million in financing and will target firms both inside and outside of First Midwest's footprint.

"The new division is part of the bank's strategic initiative to expand its lending capability and grow its loan portfolio," the company said in a news release Wednesday. 

The unit is run by John Littrell, who joined First Midwest in November to help launch the new division. Littrell worked at First Chicago Bank and Trust where he implemented and led its asset-based lending division. First Chicago failed in July and was taken over by Wintrust Financial Corp.

Since late January, the company has added four new professionals to the team. Craig Kempton will be the team’s business development officer, Scott Kennedy was named credit manager, Karen Strom was appointed systems manager and Phillip Tan was named field examination manager.

Kempton previously opened a Chicago office for Sterling National Bank of New York and was responsible for its business-development efforts. Kennedy previously managed a team of 15 special assets professionals at Merrill Lynch starting in 2004 and then joined Bank of America Corp. after it acquired Merrill Lynch in 2009.

Prior to joining First Midwest, Strom was an asset-based lending operations team leader at Cole Taylor Bank, where she managed a team of collateral analysts. Tan worked at The Private Bank in Chicago as an associate managing director and portfolio manager focused on business clients.

First Midwest has offices in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana. The asset-based lending team will scout for opportunities in those states, as well as in Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, the company said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.