Citizens Financial Services, Munster, Ind., plans to convert to a stock company and then acquire its way into Illinois.

The $747 million-asset thrift said it intends to go public during the third quarter, then use its new shares to acquire $433 million-asset SuburbFed Financial Corp., Flossmoor, Ill. Citizens would exchange $36 worth of its stock for each share of SuburbFed-a deal totaling $46.5 million.

Citizens, located in an upscale community about 30 minutes south of downtown Chicago, would extend its reach west from Northwest Indiana into Illinois' south Chicago suburbs. The company would double its number of branches, picking up SuburbFed's seven free-standing branches and five in- store branches at a local supermarket chain.

Thomas F. Prisby, chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens, said the company also plans to use capital from its conversion to expand and diversify its operations.

- Laura Pavlenko Lutton

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