Byline Bancorp, Inc. and First Evanston Bancorp, Inc., owner of Evanston-based First Bank & Trust, today announced they’ve reached a definitive agreement under which Byline will acquire First Evanston in a cash and stock transaction valued at about $169 million.

The combined organization will have approximately $4.4 billion in assets, $3.1 billion in loans and $3.5 billion in deposits, with 66 branches across the Chicago market.

First Evanston Bancorp, Inc. has total assets of $1.1 billion, total loans of $892 million and total deposits of $994 million as of Sept. 30.

Founded over 20 years ago, First Evanston offers commercial, retail, mortgage banking and wealth management services, with 10 locations, including three in Evanston.

Upon completion of the transaction, the company will operate under the Byline Bank name and brand.

“The acquisition of First Evanston is an exciting milestone for Byline,” Alberto Paracchini, Byline’s president and chief executive officer said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming First Evanston’s customers and employees to the Byline family. First Evanston adds significant strength, both in terms of clients and talent, to our commercial banking business, allows us to expand our footprint into attractive Chicagoland markets and further solidifies our strong core deposit base. We remain focused on driving growth and profitability and we believe the acquisition of First Evanston will accelerate our trajectory toward being a high performing financial institution.”

Robert Yohanan, chairman and chief executive officer of First Evanston, said, “The combination of Byline and First Evanston will create one of the premier community banks serving the Chicago area. We believe our customers will be well served by being a part of a larger community bank offering greater convenience and a broader selection of products and services, while still providing the high level of customer service they have always enjoyed at First Evanston.”

Byline says it expects to reduce pre-tax expenses by about 29 percent of First Evanston’s expense base. First Evanston employed about 123 people as of its latest federal filings in September.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Troubling news. FBTE has

    Troubling news. FBTE has built a very successful business due to deep community involvement and the dedication of their LONG term employees. My concern is that they will feel the pain of this transaction most of all as they will likely be staring from square one with new ownership. Reduced compensation (if they are retained), vacation rollback, diminished benefits etc.

    Exiting ownership ought do the right thing for those that got them to this point and spread a chunk of the BIG payday around.

    If the folks I have come to know there over the years start disappearing or report negative personel policy changes, I’m out.

    Best of luck to staff.

    1. Byline purchase of First Bank and Trust
      I concur with the opinion above. I was a 30-year customer of what became Byline Bank and experienced first hand what the writer fears might be the fate of First Bank employees and customers. Over the years, i came to know the employees of my neighborhood bank as friends. It was a neighborhood bank in all the best ways. When Byline took them over, the attrition rate among long-term employees was marked and troubling. As time went by, new Byline employees replaced the old, familiar faces and the bank lost all of the best qualities of a trusted neighborhood bank. The kicker for me came with my application for a line of credit from Byline for my neighborhood business.After being a customer of over 30 years, they turned me down. I turned to First Bank and Trust, spoke with their lending department and filled out an application. They accepted my application and i moved all of my accounts to them. I have since become a loyal customer, and was about to open a fourth account with them. I am sad to hear of the business plan of Byline, expect the same sacrifice of serious and heartfelt customer service, and will, if what i expect actually comes to pass, move my own banking business to another bank that takes customer service and the concept of a true neighborhood bank seriously. I urge all current and happy First Bank customers to watch this takeover carefully and be prepared to go elsewhere if the “bottom-line” focus of Byline begins to transform your bank into one without a true commitment to neighborhood or customers.

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