Customers of what for the past 20 years was the First Bank & Trust of Evanston were greeted Friday at their branches with a sign that read, in part: “Starting today, you are doing business with Byline.”

Otherwise, it was business as usual on the first day that First Evanston Bancorp, parent holding company of the bank in Evanston, ceased to exist as it was formally merged into Chicago-based Byline Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of Byline Bank.

The wording on the sign went on to say: “…so any reference to FB&T included in any document received by you or signed by FB&T should be deemed to be a reference to Byline.”

So now that branch, instead of being one of 10 FB&T locations, is now one of about 65 locations in the Chicagoland area that are part of the Byline Bank organization.

In an email notice to customers of the former Evanston institution on Friday, they were advised to carry on with their banking activities as if nothing had happened.

“While FB&T has legally become part of Byline and you are now doing business with Byline,” they were told, “you won’t see many immediate changes to your FB&T accounts or services.”

The message continued: “You’ll continue to visit the same branches and continue to use your existing FB&T accounts, checks and debit cards. But most importantly, you’ll continue to have the same dedicated, personal service you’ve come to expect from FB&T over the years. Our commitment to you and our communities will not change.”

As for the future:  “In the coming months we’ll provide more updates and information on when you’ll be able to utilize Byline branches and services. We’ll continue to provide clear and timely updates on any changes coming as we work to ultimately become one unified bank under the Byline Bank brand. We’ll consistently post updates on our progress and information to help with the transition on Byline’s website. Please visit this page regularly for the latest updates and information on our progress.”

Earlier stories:

First Bank is now Byline Bank

Shareholders approve First Bank merger

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. This rankles
    I don’t want to get all Frank-Capra-Wonderful-Life but I feel like we’ve lost our own little building and loan here. I don’t know about Byline, maybe it’s a great bank, maybe this is a great thing. The advantages to customers haven’t been made clear; at best things will stay the same seems to be the message. “We’re now Byline but nothing else has changed.” Okay, great. Then why the change? To benefit the shareholders, right? And Evanston goes out of the bank’s name, the bank is run by people not in or from Evanston, and before long some bigger fish will come and swallow Byline, and before I know it we’ll simply have more branches of another bank. More Wells Fargo, anyone? I sound like a crotchety old man, but I’m only the first of those things, I guess. Still, this rankles. FBT was part of our community, our local bank, and now it’s effectively gone.

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