Old National Bank Acquires Tower Financial Corp (PHOTOS)

By Emma Koch - 21Alive
By Jeff Neumeyer

September 10, 2013 Updated Sep 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive)-- A shakeup in the local banking business.

A new acquisition involves Tower Bank, headquartered in downtown Fort Wayne.

Tower Bank opened in 1999, billed as a local independent bank, with a small town flavor.

Not anymore.

An announcement came Tuesday that Old National Bank out of Evansville is acquiring "Tower" through a stock and cash merger.

Tower Bank operates seven full-service banking centers in Fort Wayne and Warsaw.

Old National has 176 branches and nearly $10-billion in assets.

The President of Old National disputes the notion that Tower customers will now have a harder time getting loans approved and getting top level service from staff who have to answer to "higher ups" headquartered 300 miles away in Southwestern Indiana.

" The beauty of it is, they're going to be able to make larger decisions now, because we have a larger balance sheet and we can take care of our clients a little better," said Bob Jones, President and CEO of Old National Bancorp.

" I'm kind of shocked. I kind of thought they were going to be the local bank, but if you look at our economy, banks are being bought out all the time, so, Tower has a good spread sheet. I can't imagine why someone would not want to buy them," said Alan Beltran, a Tower Bank customer.

Tower will be re-named Old National Bank, but not until state and federal approvals come through, most likely in the early part of 2014.

We’re told if you own Tower Bank shares, you woke up September 10th with stock worth about 45 percent more than its value on September 9th.

Like in a number of these acquisitions though, bank customers won’t notice a huge difference in the services they receive, in fact, very little change at all for several months.

As far as any job impact from the merger, Old National President Bob Jones says, “Whoever is facing off with a customer today at Tower Bank will be facing off with that customer tomorrow.”

There is also mention in a news release, however, of expected cost savings, synergies and other financial benefits from the merger.

Will there be some job reductions down the road?

It may take some time to provide the answer to that question.

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