Old Nat CEO Says Optimism Returning

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The chief executive officer of Evansville-based Old National Bancorp (Nasdaq: ONB) says being in the banking industry is "almost fun again." Bob Jones says some regulatory challenges remain, but he believes changes in Washington could be afoot this summer. Old Nat is coming off a year of record profit that included the closing of its largest-ever acquisition, Anchor Bank in Wisconsin.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Television, Jones said shifting its footprint is helping drive performance. "We moved our markets, got to much higher growth markets like Fort Wayne, like South Bend, Elkhart, Columbus, Bloomington," he said. "Then we started moving into Michigan and Wisconsin and, you know, we've just found them to be a lot like the Hoosier State. A lot of good people wanting to do the right thing, small-to-medium-sized businesses, a lot of good growth."

Jones says he has a positive outlook for his company within the state and beyond. "We're very optimistic for the future. We laid out for our board a three-year plan that's very encouraging and it's really based on what we've seen in economic development." That feeling extends throughout his company's home city of Evansville where the company has long been a contributor to downtown development. Initiatives including the recently-open DoubleTree convention hotel, the Indiana University School of Medicine campus and southwest Indiana's inclusion in the statewide Regional Cities program have Jones saying the vibrancy is returning to the Vanderburgh County city. "I think in 10 years, you won't recognize downtown Evansville," he said.

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