Major Central Illinois banks to form merger

By Sky Opila

First Busey Corporation and Main Street Trust, Inc., parent companies of Main Street Bank & Trust of Champaign and Busey Bank of Urbana have signed an agreement to merge as equals.

“This has been a huge day for all of us at Busey and I’m sure it’s an equally huge day for Main Street,” said Douglas C. Mills, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of First Busey Corporation.

“This is a great blending of two companies that have a rich heritage in their community,” said Van Dukeman, president and chief executive officer of Main Street Trust, Inc.

Both banks have histories in the area that go back over 100 years. The combined company will operate under the name First Busey Corporation.

“Main Street and Busey have been operating for around the same amount of time,” Dukeman said. “However, Main Street has changed names several times while Busey has been operating under the same name since the 1800s.”

Rather than the merger seemingly being one company taking over the other, it is a joint project to combine for quality service, the executives said.

“This will combine the talents and capital of two great organizations,” Mills said. “We will become the largest community bank in downstate Illinois.”

In addition to the benefits for the business owners and stockholders, the merger will give customers access to 120 “surcharge free” ATM locations and 45 full-service banking centers that will serve over 100,000 customers. The signs around the branches will change, but Dukeman said the company will work to ensure that there is no drop off in terms of quality.

“Yes names will change, but (the customers) will still be working with the same people,” Dukeman said. “I think it’s a pretty positive change for all of our customers.”

The merger will be made official after regulatory approval and a meeting of the shareholders.