A Chicago-area banking company said it plans nearly to double its size this year by acquiring a neighboring two-bank holding company.

Suburban Illinois Bancorp, Elmhurst, Ill., this week said it would buy Southwest Financial Corp., a $200 million-asset company based on Chicago's South Side.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Suburban Illinois, which has $225 million of assets, hopes to close the deal by yearend, pending regulatory approval. Suburban Illinois' assets would grow to $425 million after the planned merger.

David B. Hill Jr., Suburban Illinois' chairman and president, said it found Southwest Financial appealing because the company is well-run and has a similar community bank structure. Mr. Hill said he was introduced to Southwest by a mutual friend who thought the two companies' operations would blend well.

By acquiring Southwest, Suburban Illinois would gain a presence in Chicago's growing southwest suburbs, including Orland Park and New Lenox.

"In view of the growth potential, I think we'll do quite well there," Mr. Hill said.

Mr. Hill and Southwest Financial president Albert C. Baldermann said the merger would mean more products and better service for their banks' customers.

"Our customers will benefit from our increased lending capabilities and from the availability of a variety of new and updated products and services as a result of the merger," said Mr. Baldermann in a written statement.

Mr. Hill said lending opportunities would be increased for commercial customers in particular.

The parties plan to reveal the financial specifics of the acquisition after an upcoming meeting of Southwest's shareholders.

The deal has been approved by Southwest Financial's board of directors, according to a spokeswoman for Suburban Illinois.

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