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posted: 10/2/2012 8:58 AM

Wintrust subsidiary acquires south suburban bank

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Daily Herald wire reports

CRETE -- New Lenox-based Old Plank Trail Community Bank has acquired the banking operations of First United Bank of Crete after federal regulators closed the bank last week.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized First United Friday evening. The bank had about $328.4 million in assets and $316.9 million in deposits as of June 30. First United Bank operates four locations in Crete, Frankfort and Steger, as well as one location in St. John, Ind.

The FDIC and Old Plank Trail, a subsidiary of Rosemont-based Wintrust Financial Corp., entered into a loss-share transaction on $172.7 million of First United's assets.

"This FDIC-assisted transaction provides a great opportunity to expand our presence in the southern suburbs of Chicago, where we currently operate Old Plank Trail Community Bank, said Edward J. Wehmer, president and CEO of Wintrust. "This transaction is another step for Wintrust as we continue to increase our role as Chicago's Bank."

The failure of First United Bank, which had five branches, is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $48.6 million."

First United is the seventh FDIC-insured institution in Illinois and the 43rd nationwide to fail this year. U.S. bank closures are running at a slower pace than in 2011. By this time last year, 73 banks had failed.

Bank closures peaked in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis, but have been declining ever since. In 2007, just three banks went under. That number jumped to 25 in 2008, after the meltdown, and ballooned to 140 in 2009.

In 2010 regulators seized 157 banks, the most in any year since the savings and loan crisis two decades ago. The FDIC has said 2010 likely was the high-water mark for bank failures from the Great Recession.

From 2008 through 2011, bank failures cost the fund an estimated $88 billion. The deposit insurance fund fell into the red in 2009. But with failures slowing, the fund's balance turned positive in the second quarter of last year. By Dec. 31, it stood at $11.8 billion, according to the FDIC.

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