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Princeton National Bancorp and NASDAQ

PRINCETON — Princeton National Bancorp Inc. has been notified it may be delisted from the NASDAQ Stock Market unless it improves its minimum stockholders’ equity requirement.

On April 18, Princeton National Bancorp Inc., which does business as Citizens First National Bank, was notified by NASDAQ it no longer was in compliance with the minimum stockholders’ equity requirement for continued listing on the NASDAQ Global Market. The reason for the written notification was because the company had dropped below NASDAQ’s requirement to maintain a minimum of $10 million in stockholders’ equity, per the bank’s annual report filed on April 12.

The notification does not immediately remove Princeton National Bancorp’s common stock from NASDAQ; the company has 45 days to submit a plan to regain compliance with NASDAQ’s requirement.

And according to Princeton National Bancorp President/CEO Tom Ogaard, that’s exactly what the bank plans to do.

“Their (NASDAQ’s) notification was to maintain at least $10 million; we’re at $4,935,000,” said Ogaard. “It is our intent to move above that minimum requirement of $10 million. I’m certain that our plan which we will submit to them will put us back to that particular requirement.

“We have 45 days to submit a plan. If it’s accepted, then we have 180 days to get there and get it executed to meet the minimum requirement within that time frame,” Ogaard said.

Once the bank’s plan is submitted, NASDAQ will evaluate the plan and make a decision whether to accept it or not based on a variety of criteria, including the likelihood of a successful compliance plan, the bank’s past compliance history, the reason for the non-compliance, the bank’s overall financial condition and more. Once NASDAQ accepts the plan, it can then grant an extension for Princeton National Bancorp to come into compliance with NASDAQ’s requirement.

Ogaard said it’s always possible NASDAQ will not accept the bank’s plan, however, he said, “I would not submit a plan that we would not be able to execute or that would not get us above the minimum (requirement).”

Ogaard said remaining on the NASDAQ is optimal, primarily because of the visibility, the ability for shareholders to track the stock and the bigger pool of investors NASDAQ provides. While there is no impact to shareholders at this time because the company is still listed, Ogaard said Princeton National Bancorp “will still provide different avenues to trade their shares on other exchanges,” should the company become delisted.

“Certainly, we clearly don’t want our shareholders without an avenue to trade their shares, should they choose to do that. But again, I fully expect us to comply with the minimum requirements (of NASDAQ),” he said.

Princeton National Bancorp is not the first local banking institution that has received such a notification from the NASDAQ.

In December 2010, Centrue Financial Corp., the parent company of Centrue Bank, received a warning from NASDAQ that it was not in compliance for listing on the stock market because it fell below the minimum market value of $5 million. In February 2011, the company also received a notice from NASDAQ it could be delisted for dropping below the minimum of $1 per share. On June 24, 2011, Centrue voluntarily delisted its common stock from the NASDAQ to begin trading on the OTC Marketplace.

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