Independent Bank Corp. of Ionia, Mich., has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit against a thrift it bought last month.

The four-year-old suit was brought by 14 people who had bought stock of Mutual Savings Bank of Bay City, Mich., in 1992-94. They claimed its management had lied about plans to reduce risky investments.

Mutual agreed last year to pay $12 million to settle a similar suit.

Independent, which had $1.7 billion of assets at midyear, bought $564 million Mutual on Sept. 15 for $64 million.

Joseph Stieven, an analyst with St. Louis-based Stifel Nicolaus, said the settlement will probably have little effect on Independent, because funds had been earmarked to end the suit.

The $2 million will be charged against third-quarter earnings. Analysts had estimated before the settlement that Independent would report third-quarter profits of 36 cents a share, up from 35 cents a year earlier, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.

-- Craig Woker

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