First Place Financial Corp. will liquidate

By Jamison Cocklin


A U.S. bankruptcy judge in Delaware has agreed to allow the former holding company of First Place Bank to go forward with liquidation.

Warren-based First Place Financial Corp., which sold its primary asset, First Place Bank, to Talmer Bancorp in October after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, had asked the federal bankruptcy court to convert its Chapter 11 case into a Chapter 7 liquidation earlier this month.

Talmer, which now owns and operates First Place, agreed to purchase all the bank’s stock for $45 million in addition to $15 million, payable by 2033 to First Place bondholders.

With the sale of its primary asset complete, FPFC, in a court filing earlier this month, said it had few remaining assets to continue to fund operations in Chapter 11, which involves a reorganization of a debtor’s business affairs and assets.

Now, as it begins to dissolve business operations completely, FPFC will be required to turn over all records and property, file a schedule of unpaid debts and file a final report with the court, among other things.

The bank’s customers are unaffected by the move. Operations at First Place Bank will continue normally, officials said.

After Talmer’s purchase, it agreed to pump $205 million of capital into the bank, which will keep its name and a portion of its board members.

The holding company initially filed for bankruptcy after years of debt built by impaired real-estate loans that stemmed from its Michigan portfolio, where the mortgage market took a deep hit during the financial crisis in 2007-08.

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