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Bank of Carbondale, First Southern Bank to merge

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First Southern Bank and The Bank of Carbondale have announced plans to merge.

Marion-based First Southern Bank and The Bank of Carbondale have announced plans to merge.

In a joint release Wednesday, Midwest Community Bancshares, Inc. — the bank holding company for First Southern Bank — and The Carbondale Investment Corporation — the bank holding company for The Bank of Carbondale — announced The Bank of Carbondale’s merger into First Southern Bank. The venture is subject to regulatory approval.

“We are very excited to announce this alliance. The Bank of Carbondale’s philosophy of being a locally owned community bank, with high level customer service blends very well with our own business model. Both organizations take great pride in taking care of our customers and giving back to our communities,” said John Dosier, President and CEO of First Southern Bank.

Dosier said plans are to retain employees of both institutions. First Southern Bank has 15 locations in the region; The bank of Carbondale operates out of five locations.

Ty Perry, clinical assistant professor of finance at SIU, said mergers of community banks such as The Bank of Carbondale and First Southern Bank are relatively common and help the financial institutions reduce operational costs.

“These mergers can be good for consumers. Cost reductions for banks allows them an opportunity to pass these savings along to consumers,” Perry said. “Over the years, there have been a lot of new banking regulations put into place and I think it is fair to say that they have been disproportionately a burden on the smaller banks.”

Perry added that merged banks also save because they are no longer competing with one another for deposits and loans.

Dosier said bank clients will not see many changes in services.

"Customers will continue to experience the highest level of customer service that both The Bank of Carbondale and First Southern Bank are known for," he told The Southern.

First Southern Bank merged with The Bank of Marion in 2014.  

The Bank of Carbondale-First Southern Bank agreement is expected to be finalized in spring. Upon completion, First Southern Bank will have assets of more than $1 billion.

U.S. employment increased far less than expected in December amid worker shortages, and job gains could remain moderate in the near term as spiraling COVID-19 cases disrupt economic activity. Fred Katayama reports.

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