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Citizens National agrees to merger by Empire Bank

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Empire Bank announced today it will purchase Citizens National Bank, pending regulatory approval that is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

The purchase amount was not disclosed in an Empire Bank news release.

The merger with Citizens, which has five branches in Springfield and Ozark and $253 million in assets, would bring Empire Bank's assets to approximately $1.1 billion, according to the release.

The deal would make Empire Bank the second largest bank in the Springfield area in terms of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation deposits, the release said.

Jefferson City based-Central Bancompany, Empire Bank's parent, is a $9 billion bank holding company with 13 community banks in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois and Oklahoma, according to the release.

Bancompany President and CEO Bryan Cook said the company is confident in its further expansion into the Springfield area.

"Our merger with Citizens National Bank allows Empire Bank to further strengthen and enhance their services and capabilities for Springfield, as well as shows our further commitment to and belief in the growth and prosperity of the greater Springfield area," he said in the release.

Citizens National Chairman and CEO Frank Hilton said the bank is happy to be joining Empire Bank.

"This affiliation will enable our customers to have access to the latest financial products, services and technology offered by Empire Bank, and the convenience of over 22 banking centers located throughout the Ozarks," he said in the release.

Citizens National was issued a cease-and-desist order in April 2009 for "unsafe and unsound" banking practices dealing with real estate loans, according to Springfield Business Journal coverage. At the time, officials said the bank was in the process of correcting that and other actions listed in an April 7, 2009, report from the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency.[[In-content Ad]]

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