Upper Peninsula holding company to merge charters

Gladstone, Mich.-based First Bancshares will merge Northern Michigan Bank and Trust into First Bank Upper Michigan by the end of the year.

First Bancshares Corporation of Gladstone, Mich., plans to merge the charters of its two banks.

The Upper Peninsula-based First Bancshares became a holding company in 1988 with its acquisition of First National Bank of Gladstone. It then changed that bank’s name to First Bank Upper Michigan in 1989.

First Bancshares then acquired Northern Michigan Bank and Trust of Escanaba, Mich., last year. First Bank had assets then of $179 million while NMB&T had assets of $243 million.

The two banks will be merged into First Bank Upper Michigan by year-end, and all 10 locations in Delta, Marquette and Dickinson counties will have that name.

“This is the next logical step in our desire to remain a strong community bank enhancing our ability to improve client services and provide more opportunity to our professional staff of caring associates,” said Jeanine Dagenais, president and chairman of First Bancshares. The bank expects to see economic benefits by reducing the duplication of resources toward compliance, auditing, regulatory examinations and other outside consultants needed in the current regulatory environment.

Both banks already use the same core processing system which will simplify the system integration.

“The combination of NMB&T with First Bank is something we have been anticipating and is the right thing to do,” said E.J. Kostreva, president of NMB&T Northern Region. “We have an array of talent across the board at both banks to serve our clients, and we look forward to a solid future as one.”

First Bancshares is a private holding company with $379 million in assets.