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First Merchants shuns management from failed SCB Bank

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Muncie-based First Merchants Bank, which on Friday acquired significant loans and deposits held by SCB Bank in Shelbyville, declined to bring the troubled bank’s CEO into the new ownership.

First Merchants took over all four SCB branches after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized the bank, which had $183 million in assets.

IBJ reported in November that SCB was at risk of being taken over because of a high proportion of problem loans, particularly in its real estate and commercial-and-industrial portfolios. One of the customers who defaulted was Tim Durham, the Indianapolis financier now facing felony charges of orchestrating a Ponzi scheme.

The bank’s CEO, Russ Breeden, also was chairman and CEO of SCB’s holding company, Blue River Bancshares Inc. Breeden, along with the holding company and its directors, have no role with First Merchants, said Mike Stewart, First Merchant’s chief banking officer, on Monday morning.

“We didn’t mess around with anything like that,” he said. Breeden did not return a call Monday morning from IBJ seeking comment.

First Merchants bought $117 million in SCB loans and assumed $136 million of its deposits. The deal with the FDIC excludes all development loans, land loans and all non-performing loans. The remaining assets were purchased for a $29 million discount and the deposits were assumed at no premium.

Under the deal, First Merchants also is buying SCB’s main office building in Shelbyville for $1.4 million, in addition to four SCB branches.

First Merchants bid on SCB after learning from federal regulators that a takeover was imminent. Stewart said the sale was completed within a two-week period.

The sale gets First Merchants into another central Indiana community at an attractive price, Stewart said.

“We’re a very dominant bank in central Indiana, in communities just like Shelbyville,” he said. “For us, Shelbyville is a new market.”

Stewart said SCB’s failure likely was due to several reasons, including too many bad loans and some issues with the holding company.

SCB’s failure is expected to cost the government $33.9 million.

Including SCB and a small Illinois bank also closed Friday by regulators, the total number of U.S. bank failures this year has risen to nine, a similar pace to that in 2011, when there were 92 bank closures. The Illinois bank was Charter National Bank and Trust, based in Hoffman Estates, near Chicago, with $93.9 million in assets and $89.5 million in deposits.

First Merchants now has 80 branches in 24 counties. Based on number of employees, First Merchants was the 10th-largest bank in the Indianapolis area, according to IBJ statistics, before its takeover of SCB.
 

 

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