Carbondale's namesake bank for half a century is becoming part of a regional chain of banks headquartered in nearby Marion.
Officials with The Bank of Carbondale and First Southern Bank recently announced the signing of a strategic plan that will see the Carbondale bank merge with First Southern, which currently operates more than a dozen banks in southern Illinois, including two existing branches in Carbondale.
John Dosier, president and CEO of First Southern, said the bank plans to retain all of The Bank of Carbondale's employees. Bob Bleyer, president and CEO of The Bank of Carbondale, said the bank's shareholders and directors "placed a top priority" on customers and employees when considering the deal.
"We are pleased that we are able to enter into this agreement with First Southern Bank, an organization that shares the same philosophy and commitment to southern Illinois as The Bank of Carbondale" Bleyer said.
The Bank of Carbondale's history runs deep, and it traces its roots to the chartering of the Vergennes State Bank in 1919. In 1970, the charter was transferred and established as The Bank of Carbondale.
According to the bank's website, in January 1981, several area businessmen purchased the stock of The Bank of Carbondale, which previously had been owned by a group outside of the area. The bank grew with with the opening of new branches in Vergennes, Murphysboro and Carterville.
First Southern Bank operates around 15 branches in nearby communities. In addition to the two in Carbondale -- one located almost directly across Main Street from The Bank of Carbondale's main branch -- First Southern manages banking centers in Murphysboro, Carterville, Marion, Herrin, Royalton, Grand Tower, Creal Springs and Eldorado.
"We are very excited to announce this alliance," First Southern's Dosier said.
The parties withheld details of the transaction pending regulatory approval, which is anticipated in the second quarter of 2022.