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The history of Citizens First National Bank

Published: Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 7:31 p.m. CDT

It was Feb. 23, 1865, when the First National Bank of Princeton was established. The bank’s president, B.S. Ferris of Princeton, and its shareholders organized with $75,000 of capital as business began on Princeton’s South Main Street. At the onset, there were 700 shares of stock and 27 shareholders. B.S. Ferris served as president of First National Bank until 1874, when he sold his stock in the bank and started the Farmers National Bank of Princeton. At that time, D.H. Ferris (B.S. Ferris’ brother) became president and served until 1882, followed by D.H. Smith who was president until 1911. H.C. Roberts was appointed president in 1911 and held the position for 19 years. Roberts became the first president of the board of Citizens First National Bank, after the 1930 merger of First National Bank, Farmers National Bank, and a third bank — Citizens National Bank, which had originally opened in 1879 at 606 S. Main St., Princeton. That location is where Citizens First National Bank still stands today. That merger came as a result of the events of the Great Depression, when the aforementioned three banks along with First State Bank of Princeton discussed merging as one. All but First State Bank agreed. On Jan. 1, 1930, the three banks — by unanimous votes from their boards and shareholders — became Citizens First National Bank with assets of $3,000,000 and capital of $150,000. The chairman of the board was H.C. Roberts; the president of the board was C.D. Tedrow; officers were Hugh Ferris, Martin Zearing, George F. Zearing and Dwight Miller. During World War II, Citizens First National Bank flourished, doubling in size between 1941 and 1945. By 1944, the bank had total assets of $8.2 million, and the bank’s staff had grown to 18. C.D. Tedrow became chairman of the board and remained in that spot until his death in 1963, when George Zearing was elected chairman, succeeded by his brother, Robert I. Zearing, who took the position when George died in October of that same year. Robert Zearing served as president until 1976, when Gordon Sears was appointed. Robert Zearing continued to serve as chairman of the board. From 1963 to 1982, the bank’s assets grew from nearly $17,000,000 to almost $154,000,000. When Robert Zearing retired from the board after 51 years of service, James P. Monier became the new chairman in 1985. D.E. Van Ordstrand was appointed president of the bank in December 1982, when Gordon Sears retired. During Sears’ tenure, the bank’s assets grew from $77,631,000 in 1976 to $153,939,000. Princeton National Bancorp, Inc. originated in 1982 and bought the stock of Citizens First National Bank. As the holding company of Citizens First National Bank, Princeton National Bancorp made its second acquisition in May 1986 with the purchase of Genoa State Bank. In April 1988, the company acquired First National Bank of Oglesby. The Annex, situated behind the main bank on Princeton’s Main Street, was completed in 1990. James P. Monier served as chairman of the board until 1994. During this time, with D.E. Van Ordstrand as president/CEO, the merger of the Princeton and Oglesby subsidiaries was completed. The acquisition of Illinois Valley Bankshares, Inc., with subsidiary offices in Peru, Princeton and DePue was completed in 1992, which caused an asset increase of nearly $76 million and growing total assets to $341,666,403. Also in 1992, Princeton National Bancorp became a publicly-traded stock on the NASDAQ exchange. Thomas R. Lasier became chairman of the board in 1994 and served until 2002. In 1994, the company acquired Heart of Illinois Investment Corp, which included offices in Princeton, Spring Valley, Henry and Plano. Two new offices in Oglesby and Minooka were opened with plans to open another in Hampshire the following year. By the end of 1994, Citizens had 12 offices in nine communities. D.E. Van Ordstrand retired at the end of 1996. During his tenure, the bank’s assets grew from $153,939,000 to $420,407,000. The bank attributes much of the growth to the acquisition of Sandwich office and expansion of offices in Genoa, Oglesby, Peru, Sandwich, Spring Valley, Henry and Princeton. Tony J. Sorcic was appointed president/CEO of Princeton National Bancorp on Jan. 1, 1997. Citizens was ranked No. 1 out of 124 banks in its geographic region in 1999 for loans made in 1997 and 1998. Commercial development in the Huntley area causes Citizens to move forward with another bank there. The year 2000 marked the most profitable year in the history of the bank. Assets reached $515,180,000 and a record net income of $8,186,000 was achieved. Total deposits increased in 2001 by $56.4 million. Thomas R. Lasier retired from the board in 2001. Craig O. Wesner was appointed chairman of the board. In 2003, Princeton National Bancorp purchased land in Elburn and Aurora. Construction began on the Aurora facility in 2005. Total deposits reached a record high of $537,800,000 in 2003, as did loans with a record high of $383,100,000. In 2005, the company acquired Somonauk FSB Bancorp, which caused the Citizens banking family to grow in the towns of Somonauk, Sandwich, Millbrook, Newark and Plano. Assets at the end of 2005 were nearing a billion dollars. On Oct. 11, 2006, the total assets of Princeton National Bancorp surpassed that $1 billion mark. In 2007, the bank grew again with a location in Plainfield. Tony J. Sorcic retired from Princeton National Bancorp and Citizens First National Bank on Feb. 1, 2010. Thomas D. Ogaard was appointed president/CEO on Feb. 2, 2010. In the late 2000s, the bank’s loan portfolio began suffering major losses, which stressed the bank’s capital to critical levels. The loan losses were deep enough to create a severe shortage of capital and resulted in regulatory intervention. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency filed a formal agreement with the company, demanding it raise its capital to comply with regulatory guidelines. According to the 8-K filing, Princeton National Bancorp, Inc. reported its tangible equity to total assets ratio at the end of its second quarter (ending June 30, 2012) was 1.92 percent. Because of that percentage, the bank became “critically undercapitalized” within the meaning of the bank’s ongoing Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) provisions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and the regulations of the OCC. At that time, the company was given 90 days to turn its situation around by raising additional capital or merging with another financial institution. In June 20, 2012, Princeton National Bancorp was delisted from the NASDAQ Global Market for not meeting the requirements of the exchange. On June 29, 2012, the stock began trading on the OTCQB Marketplace. Late in the afternoon on Nov. 2, 2012, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed Citizens First National Bank and 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. Citizens First National Bank employed more than 300 employees in 21 branches in 17 different communities.

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