First Merchants Corp., Muncie, Ind., has two deals aimed at strengthening its presence in central and eastern Indiana.

In the first, $1.1 billion-asset First Merchants would buy Anderson (Ind.) Community Bank for an undisclosed amount. Anderson, a four-year-old, $75 million-asset bank, would be merged with a First Merchants subsidiary, Pendleton Banking Co., to form Madison Community Bank.

First Merchants also plans to buy Jay Financial Corp., Portland, Ind., for $30 million of stock. The deal, valued at 2.2 times Jay's March 31 book value, calls for First Merchants to exchange 8.94454 of its shares for each outstanding Jay share.

Jay's subsidiary, $106 million-asset First National Bank of Portland, would retain its name, local board of directors, and management team as a First Merchants affiliate. Both deals are expected to close in the first quarter.

First Merchants also announced this month that Michael L. Cox has been promoted to president of the holding company. Mr. Cox, formerly an executive vice president, is to succeed Stefan S. Anderson as chief executive next year. Mr. Anderson is expected to remain chairman.

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