First Place Bank sale final

Staff report


The sale of First Place Bank to Michigan-based Talmer Bancorp has been completed.

Talmer’s total investment in the Warren-based bank is more than $200 million including the purchase price and funds to “recapitalize First Place in order to satisfy regulatory capital requirements and strengthen First Place’s balance sheet,” according to a statement from Talmer.

“First Place Bank has a strong community-banking culture, local market knowledge and solid customer relationships. By combining those qualities with Talmer’s financial strength and commitment to helping communities grow and prosper, we have bolstered a valuable banking institution that will continue benefiting local customers, neighborhoods and communities,” David T. Provost, president and chief executive officer of Talmer Bancorp Inc., said in a statement. “Talmer is pleased to welcome the employees and customers of First Place Bank, which will continue to operate under its current name and brand.”

Thomas C. Shafer, vice chairman of Talmer, was named president and chief executive officer of First Place, and Dennis L. Klaeser, chief financial officer of Talmer, will serve in the same role at First Place.

The sale of First Place Bank was completed during the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process of First Place Financial Corp., the bank’s parent company. The sale was approved by the bankruptcy court Dec. 14.

An objection to the sale from the U.S. Treasury Department filed in late November led Judge Brendan L. Shannon to reshape the terms of the deal to attract other competitive bids. No other bidders came forward.

First Place Financial Corp. still owes the U.S. Treasury Department $72.9 million in bailout funds paid to the bank in 2008. The debt is unrelated to the Talmer sale, and its payment will be dealt with further during bankruptcy proceedings.

The bankruptcy case has not yet been closed, and there is no agreement on what will happen with the debt owed to the Treasury Department.

Officials at both First Place and Talmer have insisted that customers at the bank’s 41 retail locations will be unaffected by the acquisition.

With the purchase of First Place Bank, Talmer Bancorp has approximately $4.5 billion in assets and $3.9 billion in deposits pending final determination of purchase accounting adjustments in its two subsidiary banks: Talmer Bank and Trust, which operates 45 banking and lending offices in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois; and First Place, which has 41 banking offices and 20 lending offices located primarily in the Midwest.

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