Level One Bank to acquire, become First Merchants


Level One Bancorp, based in Farmington Hills, is in the process of being acquired by a larger bank in Indiana.

First Merchants Corp. of Muncie, Indiana, on Thursday announced plans to buy Level One in a $ 323.5 million stock purchase transaction and the deal is expected to close at first half of 2022.

Level One was co-founded in 2007 by its CEO Patrick Fehring.

Level One has $ 2.5 billion in assets, 16 banking centers in Southeast Michigan, and had 282 full-time employees at the start of the year. It was co-founded in 2007 by its CEO Patrick Fehring.

Level One would merge with and into First Merchants as part of the deal, which is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

If and when the sale is final, the newly expanded First Merchants would have approximately $ 17.6 billion in assets and 122 bank offices in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. It would also be the No. 9 bank in the Detroit, Ann Arbor and Monroe markets with a 1.57% market share, according to First Merchants.

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Details of the branch closings or planned employee layoffs were not immediately available on Thursday.

“We believe our partnership with First Merchants will bring tremendous benefits to our customers, shareholders and communities,” Fehring said in a press release. “We look forward to continuing the legacy of exceptional customer service, local responsiveness and strong community engagement that has defined Level One Bank since its inception in 2007.”

The last major acquisition by First Merchants was its 2019 deal for Monroe Bank & Trust, headquartered in Monroe.

As for Level One, it last acquired Ann Arbor State Bank in early 2020. Previously, it acquired Bank of Michigan in 2016, Lotus Bank in 2015, Paramount Bank in 2010, and Michigan Heritage Bank. in 2009.

The banking industry nationwide and in Michigan has seen significant consolidation in recent decades, including the recently completed merger of Detroit-based TCF Bank with Columbus-based Huntington Bank.

The total number of FDIC-insured commercial banks fell to just over 4,500 in 2019, from around 12,350 in 1990, as the deposit market share of the top 30 banks increased from 28% of deposits to nearly 70%, according to a report on bank consolidation. by FJ Capital Management.

The Level One-First Merchants deal would give Level One shareholders one 0.7167 common share of First Merchants, in a tax-free exchange, and $ 10.17 in cash for each share of Level One, for a mix current of about 75% shares and 25% cash.

Check back to Freep.com for more details on this developing story.

ContactJC Reindl To313-222-6631 or [email protected]. Follow him on twitter @jcreindl. Learn more about the companies and subscribe to our business newsletter.

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