Citizens Union Bank of Shelbyville and First Farmers Bank and Trust will merge this weekend.

The two banks are sister banks and have operated under the Citizens Union Bancorp umbrella since 1994, when the company acquired First Farmers. The merger has been in the works for months.

First Farmers, based in Owenton, Ky., has four branches, and Citizens Union has 12 branches. All 16 branches will open Monday under the Citizens Union name. The merger will allow Citizens Union, which mostly has branches in the Shelbyville and Louisville areas, to expand farther north in Kentucky.

“We just thought strategically it made sense to put these (banks) together and utilize our resources across the entire region,” said David Bowling, Citizens Union CEO. “We felt together we would be more effective at serving our customers than we would be independently.”

The branches all will take on Citizens Union’s name because it is the bigger of the two. Citizens Union ranked 12th on Business First’s list of the area’s largest banks in 2016, with $402.5 million in deposits in the market as of June 30.

Bowling said none of the products or services will change with the merger, and all of the bank employees will remain at their respective branches.

“We’ll be combining various functions, but no one is losing their job as a result of the merger,” Bowling said.

Bowling said there will be almost no changes for customers, except that First Farmers will gain services that it didn’t have as a smaller bank.

The move also helps in another way, Bowling said.

“The other factor is that, in the regulatory environment that all banks operate in, today continues to be a challenge for a small bank with few employees,” he said. Smaller banks struggle to keep up with the numerous federal regulations because of the limited resources those banks have, he explained. “Together, we can spread our resources out.”

No money will change hands in the merger, since both companies operate under the same corporation.

“Ultimately, it came down to the fact that we thought together we would be stronger and better able to serve customers,” Bowling said. “The most important thing is that, from the customer’s perspective, very little should change.”


An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the city where First Farmers Bank and Trust was headquartered. The bank is based in Owenton, Ky. and has four branches in that region.

Bridgett Weaver covers technology, banking, entrepreneurs and retail.

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