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Citizens: End of an era

PRINCETON — Citizens First National Bank was closed late Friday afternoon by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. According to the FDIC, in order to protect the depositors of Citizens, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Heartland Bank and Trust Co. of Bloomington to assume all of the deposits of Citizens First National Bank.

According to the release: “The 21 branches of Citizens First National Bank will reopen Saturday as branches of Heartland Bank and Trust Co. Depositors of Citizens First National Bank will automatically become depositors of Heartland Bank and Trust Co. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits.”

The FDIC said customers of Citizens First National Bank should continue to use their existing branch until they receive notice from Heartland Bank and Trust Co. that it has completed systems changes to allow other Heartland Bank and Trust Co. branches to process their accounts.

On Friday and throughout the weekend, depositors of Citizens First National Bank can access their money without issue or problems by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. All checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. The FDIC said all loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual. Checks that were drawn on Citizens First National Bank that did not clear before the institution closed will be honored as long as there are sufficient funds in the account. If you have questions about your account(s) transferred to Heartland Bank and Trust, you can speak to an FDIC representative by calling 800-830-4698.

According to the press release, on Sept. 30, Citizens First National Bank had approximately $924 million in total assets and $869.4 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Heartland Bank and Trust Co. agreed to essentially purchase all of the assets.

Regarding shareholders, the FDIC’s website said, “All shares of Citizens First National Bank were owned by its holding company, Princeton National Bancorp Inc., Princeton. The holding company was not included in the closing of the bank or the resulting receivership. If you are a shareholder of Princeton National Bancorp Inc., do not contact or file a claim with the receiver. You must contact Princeton National Bancorp Inc. directly for information at Princeton National Bancorp, Inc., 211 Fulton St., Suite 600, Peoria, IL 61602

Customers with questions about the closing of Citizens First National Bank should call the FDIC at 800-830-4698. The phone number is operational until 9 p.m. Friday (CDT); on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.; on Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and thereafter from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The FDIC’s website can be accessed at www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/cfnb.html.

The release stated, “The FDIC estimates the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $45.2 million. Compared to other alternatives, Heartland Bank and Trust Co.’s acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC’s DIF. Citizens First National Bank is the 49th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the eighth in Illinois. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was First United Bank, Crete, on Sept. 28, 2012.

According to the FDIC, no advance notice is given to the public when a financial institution is closed. Staff members in the Princeton office were called into a company meeting at approximately 5 p.m. A few employees sporadically left the main Citizens building around 5:45 to 6 p.m. There were no comments.

Citizens First National Bank had 21 branches in 17 communities which employed approximately 300 people.

“This is an opportunity for us to expand into this market and carry on the community banking tradition in those communities. We think they will be good markets for Heartland Bank in the long run,” said Fred Drake, chairman/CEO of Heartland Bank ... Our goal is that people will not feel much change at all. Eventually, we will consolidate the system and change the signs, but people will feel very comfortable with the seamless change.

“Heartland Bank is pleased to welcome the customers and employees of Citizens First National Bank. We have strong community bank roots and have grown in our capability and technology to deliver more products and services to our customers. Today’s consumers have many choices. Our customers appreciate the community bank culture that has been our trademark. We are very committed to community banking and look forward to serving customers in this area. We are well prepared and have worked hard to make their transition very smooth,” Drake added.

Heartland Bank and Trust has 20 offices located throughout North Central Illinois.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com. 

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