MUNCIE - Muncie-based First Merchants Corp. (Nasdaq: FRME) has announced an agreement to acquire a Michigan bank. The deal for MBT Financial Corp. (Nasdaq: MBTF), the parent of Monroe Bank & Trust, is valued at $291 million and marks the bank's entry into Michigan. First Merchants says the combination will create the second-largest financial holding company headquartered in Indiana.

MBTF has 20 locations in southeast Michigan. When complete, First Merchants says it will have more than 130 branches throughout Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. Under terms of the agreement, Monroe Bank & Trust Chief Executive Officer H. Douglas Chaffin will become a First Merchants regional president.

CEO Mike Rechin says "like First Merchants, Monroe Bank & Trust has a long history and a deep-rooted commitment to community banking and we are excited they have chosen to become the newest member of the First Merchants family. The MBTF franchise opens an entirely new contiguous banking market for us with a high-quality and prudently managed 160 year old institution. We believe that our strategy to be a service-driven alternative to our super-regional bank competitors will support the acceleration of Monroe Bank & Trust's current initiatives while furthering our goal of growing as a high-performing company."

The deal is slated to close early next year and the integration of MBTF is expected to be complete in the third quarter of next year. MBTF has some $1.3 billion in assets and will give First Merchants a total of approximately $11 billion in assets.