Horizon Bank Continues Pattern of Growth

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Both Horizon Bank and LaPorte Savings Bank date back to the 1870s. Both Horizon Bank and LaPorte Savings Bank date back to the 1870s.

Two northwest Indiana banks have reached a merger agreement. Under terms of the $94.1 million proposal, Michigan City-based Horizon Bancorp (Nasdaq: HBNC) would acquire LaPorte Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: LPSB).

The deal involves cash and stock considerations.

Last month, Horizon announced the $22.5 million acquisition of the parent of Farmers State Bank in Mentone, which follows the $73 million acquisition of Peoples Bancorp in Auburn in 2015 and the 2014 additions of SCB Bancorp Inc. in Michigan and Indianapolis-based 1st Mortgage of Indiana.

Horizon says it will close four LaPorte Savings Bank full-service and loan production offices as a result of the combination. They are: Michigan City, Chesterton and a La Porte location, plus the St. Joseph, Michigan loan production office. Horizon says it will retain all retail branch employees who meet its hiring standards. The office staffing is expected to be "right-sized" through attrition and retirements by 2017. LaPorte Savings Bank Chief Financial Officer Michele Thompson will be added to the Horizon board of directors. The merger is expected to be complete in the third quarter.

Horizon Chief Executive Officer Craig Dwight says "Horizon will offer more convenience to The LaPorte Savings Bank’s customers through our extensive branch and ATM locations in Indiana and Michigan, customer service guarantees, extensive product menu and higher lending limits. We believe our complementary product offerings and commitment to engaging the local community is a winning combination for our shareholders, employees, customers and the community at large."

At year's end, Horizon Bancorp had total assets of $2.7 billion and LaPorte Bancorp had total assets of $543.2 million as of December 31. If the deal clears regulatory and shareholder hurdles, the combined operations will continue under the Horizon Bank name.

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