Great Northern Bank to merge with First American Bank

Great Northern Bank of St. Michael announced an agreement to merge with First American Bank of Hudson, Wis.

The transaction will combine two institutions with similar strategies, allowing the combined entity to pursue larger transactions. The combined enterprise will be known as First American Bank.

The transaction will create a new institution with two locations and diverse customer bases, one in the northwest suburbs of the greater Twin Cities area and the other in the east metro. The merger will allow the new First American Bank to provide its customers with more than double Great Northern Bank’s previous lending limit, opening new opportunities for the bank and its customers.

“Since we started Great Northern Bank (GNB) in 1999, the regulatory environment for community banks has changed,” said GNB Chairman Peter Alworth. “While GNB has been profitable for the past three years following the Great Recession, our opportunities have been limited by recent changes to regulations. This merger will allow us to better serve our customers in light of the changing regulatory landscape,” he added.

“GNB was internally focused during the recession and the years immediately following to ensure our portfolio was strong,” added GNB Chief Executive Officer Paul Ederer. “With this merger, we will again be externally focused and looking for growth.”

“This is a very positive transaction that combines two healthy banks in the Twin Cities area with no geographic overlap,” Alworth added.

Both banks have talented teams of employees and managers who will continue to serve their customers, and customers will continue to see the same faces in the bank. Ederer feels the GNB team and the staff at First American are both highly skilled and complement one another.

“From an operational standpoint, this merger combines two well run banks with complementary management teams and will result in growth that neither bank could accomplish independently,” Ederer said.

The combining banks expect the merger to be completed in late September. The merger will be a 100 percent stock-for-stock transaction. The new First American Bank will have offices in St. Michael and Hudson and will be partners to the businesses and consumers in these communities.

Twelve local owners founded Great Northern Bank in 1999 with the mission to combine personalized banking traditions with innovative banking services. Since then, GNB has captured 50% market share of deposits in Saint Michael and has grown to serve thousands of consumers  and businesses in the northwestern suburbs of the Twin Cities.