Talmer completes First Place deal

Talmer Bancorp. on Wednesday announced it has completed its purchase of Warren-based First Place Bank.

Talmer officials said their total investment of more than $200 million was used to purchase and recapitalize First Place in order to satisfy regulatory capital requirements and strengthen First Place’s balance sheet.

The purchase was approved in mid-December by a federal bankruptcy court judge in Delaware after First Place Bank’s parent company, First Place Financial Corp., declared bankruptcy in October. Talmer was the only qualified bidder for the bank. First Place Bank was not included in the Chapter 11 filing, and its operations were not affected by the filing.

“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,” said David T. Provost, president and chief executive officer, Talmer Bancorp Inc.

“Talmer is pleased to welcome the employees and customers of First Place Bank, which will continue to operate under its current name and brand,” Provost said.

There has been no official word yet from the Federal Reserve Board, the regulatory agency that must approve the sale.

Talmer also announced Wednesday that Thomas C. Shafer, vice chairman of Talmer, will take over as president and chief executive officer of First Place. Dennis L. Klaeser, chief financial officer of Talmer, will serve as chief financial officer of First Place.

Shafer has held a variety of leadership and executive positions in community banking and commercial lending for the past 32 years. Klaeser has extensive experience in a range of leadership positions in banking, finance and investment banking.

Talmer had bid $45 million and said it would infuse more than $200 million in capital in the bank. Talmer also promised to cover First Place’s debt in the amount of $60 million.

Following the bankruptcy court’s approval last month, Klaeser said the company would infuse the additional capital and help refocus the company and get it back on track.

”The bank will be very focused on reaching out to the community, lending to small businesses and families,” Klaeser said.

With the First Place acquisition, 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.

Headquartered in Troy, Mich., Talmer Bancorp is the holding company for Talmer Bank and Trust and First Place Bank. Talmer has 86 banking and lending offices in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.