First Merchants Wraps up Merger

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Muncie-based First Merchants Corp. (Nasdaq: FRME) has completed a $49 million acquisition of Community Bancshares Inc. in Noblesville. First Merchants Chief Executive Officer Michael Rechin says the deal received "overwhelming approval" from Community Bancshares shareholders. November 10, 2014

News Release

MUNCIE, Ind. - First Merchants Corporation successfully completed its previously announced merger with Community Bancshares, Inc., of Noblesville, Indiana on Friday, November 7, 2014. In connection with the merger, Community Bank has also merged with and into First Merchants Bank. The combined First Merchants Bank has 107 banking centers in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio and approximately $5.9 billion in assets, $3.9 billion in loans, $4.6 billion in deposits, and total shareholders' equity of $700 million. The full integration of Community Bank under the First Merchants brand is expected to be completed during the 2nd quarter of 2015.

As part of the $49 million merger, shareholders of Community Bancshares will receive either (a) 4.0926 shares of First Merchants Corporation common stock, or (b) $85.94 in cash for each share of Community Bancshares common stock held. The former shareholders of Community Bancshares will receive information shortly on how to complete the exchange of their Community Bancshares stock.

Michael C. Rechin, First Merchants Corporation's Chief Executive Officer, added, "We are pleased this merger received overwhelming approval by the Community Bancshares shareholders. Community Bank's clients will now have access to expanded product and service options as well as additional banking center convenience. With the capital resources and lending capacity that First Merchants provides, it will enable us to focus on growth in the Hamilton County Market, the fastest growing Indiana market. We are also excited about the addition of two new communities in Madison County that we don’t currently serve; Summitville and Alexandria."

Community Bank has a deep-rooted commitment to community banking by providing personalized financial services solutions to consumer and business customers. Charles L. Crow, Community’s Chief Executive Officer stated, "We are excited about becoming part of the First Merchants family, and believe this partnership benefits our clients, shareholders and communities. Our clients will now have access to a broader network and expanded products and services, while still enjoying community banking service delivered by people they know and trust. For several years now, our executive management team has been driven to be the community bank of choice in our marketplace. Our bankers look forward to taking advantage of new product capabilities and continuing to build momentum with our clients as First Merchants. The core values of both companies share a commitment to local decision making, personal service, long-term relationships and community involvement." Mr. Crow along with Larry W. Riggs and Russell W. Freed will continue to manage the Noblesville Market of First Merchants Bank, with Mr. Riggs as Market President.

About First Merchants Corporation

First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding company headquartered in Muncie, Indiana. The Corporation is comprised of First Merchants Bank, N.A., which also operates as Lafayette Bank & Trust, Commerce National Bank, and First Merchants Trust Company as divisions of First Merchants Bank, N.A. First Merchants Corporation also operates First Merchants Insurance Group, a full-service property casualty, personal lines, and healthcare insurance agency.

First Merchants Corporation's common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market System under the symbol FRME. Quotations are carried in daily newspapers and can be found on the company’s Internet web page (http://www.firstmerchants.com).

Source: First Merchants Corp.