Southport Bank to be acquired by Chicago bank

First American Bank plans to expand into Wisconsin

Russ Weyers, president and CEO of Southport Bank.

Last updated on May 14th, 2019 at 01:43 am

Kenosha-based Southport Bank is scheduled to be sold to Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based First American Bank.

Russ Weyers, president and CEO of Southport Bank.

The transaction price has not been disclosed. The banks expect the transaction to be completed in 90 to 120 days, pending regulatory approval, said Tom Wells, founder and chief executive officer of First American.

Southport has about $247.7 million in total loans and about $233.4 million in total deposits. It has about 50 employees at three locations in Kenosha County.

First American has about $1.3 billion in total loans and about $2.4 billion in total deposits. It has about 600 employees at 50 locations; 49 are in the Chicago area and one is in Coral Gables, Florida.

“We’ve over the years had a number of clients that moved up into Wisconsin and as Chicago and Illinois’ financial troubles become increasingly apparent and there appears to be more opportunity in Wisconsin, so we’re following that,” said Wells, who founded First American in 1965. “We’re excited about the bank; we’re excited about the area.”

Southport was reasonably priced, had good prospects and was an ideal market for First American, he said. As the banks integrate their operations, there will be some “synergies,” but there are likely to be other positions available for employees whose positions are redundant, he said.

“We want to have as few people as possible and everybody doing well,” Wells said. “We’ve got turnover obviously, and there will be opportunities for the backroom people in our organization. It won’t be in Kenosha, but it will be within a reasonable commute.”

By becoming part of the larger institution, Southport Bank customers will have access to consumer mortgage lending, SBA products, higher lending limits and additional banking locations, he said.

“Their clients will see a broader offering of products under one roof than they’ve had to date,” Wells said. “Hopefully we’ll retain the same client touch that they had.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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