On Tuesday, July 26, 2022, Bank First announced a merger agreement with Hometown Bank. Our two organizations possess a diverse set of competencies that when combined, allow us to offer an enhanced suite of products and services to our customers while strengthening the communities we serve through volunteerism and philanthropic initiatives.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ANNOUNCED TRANSACTION
- Both companies share a relationship-based philosophy focused on providing personalized products and services to the communities they serve.
- Strengthens Bank First’s franchise through a larger branch network and greater market share in central Wisconsin.
- The combined organization’s scale will increase lending capacity to Hometown customers, allowing its team of bankers to service larger relationships at the local level.
- Leverages the operational strengths of both institutions, increasing shareholder value.
- Tim McFarlane, President & CEO of Hometown, to join Bank First as President and will join the Board of Directors of Bank First, N.A. He will also be nominated to the Bank First Corporation Board of Directors.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
For Hometown Bank customers, employees, and the general public, things will look and feel the
same for a period of time. You can expect to see no change in the high-quality, personalized level of care and service you currently receive.
We encourage you to check out the Frequently Asked Questions below to help answer some initial questions you may have. We will continue to provide additional information in the coming weeks and months as we progress through the various phases of the merger.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did Hometown decide to merge with Bank First?
Merging with a strong, long-standing organization will ensure we have the resources required to meet the growing demands of a competitive market place and continue to deliver innovative products and services to our valued customers for years to come.
Will I lose the community banking service I enjoy?
While Bank First is larger than Hometown, they function as a true relationship-based community bank. The bank has created a culture focused on community involvement, and its employees are empowered to volunteer and give back in many ways. In 2021, Bank First contributed over $543,000 to 504 local events and non-profit organizations. Its employees donated over 8,145 hours of volunteering in the community as well. In addition to volunteerism and financial support, Bank First takes pride in using customers and local businesses as its vendors. Bank First’s size allows it to be responsive and nimble as a community bank but provide innovative products and services that rival the “big banks”.
Bank First places utmost importance on getting to know customers on a personal level to help them achieve their financial goals. The bank takes pride in being the primary bank of each customer, maintaining the loan balances and deposit accounts of each family and organization. Doing so allows Bank First to take in local deposits and reinvest those funds in the communities it serves.
When will Hometown become Bank First?
We anticipate the closing of the transaction to occur no later than February 10, 2023, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals.
What kind of communication will I receive as the merger approaches?
As the merger approaches, you will receive detailed communication in the form of a Welcome Guide, including a comprehensive timeline of events, important account changes, information on Bank First’s products and services, contact information for questions and concerns and frequently asked questions.
Can I go to a Bank First location for banking transactions?
For services related to Hometown accounts, you should continue to visit any Hometown location until conversion. After conversion, you can visit any Bank First location.
Will the Hometown website and phone number change?
The Hometown phone number will remain the same before and after the conversion. You can continue to visit www.htbwi.com for all your banking needs until conversion. You will receive detailed information regarding the timing of website and online banking changes as the conversion date approaches.
What will happen to my local branch?
Hometown and Bank First are evaluating the footprint of the combined organization. The goal is to determine if there will be any branch closures as soon as possible. Customers will receive communication regarding any potential branch closures at least 90 days in advance so you have time to prepare.
What will happen to the local team of bankers I enjoy working with at Hometown?
You will continue to work with the same dedicated group of bankers you know and trust. Understandably, there may be overlapping roles once the two institutions are combined. However, given the strong cultural alignment of both organizations, you can expect to receive the same level of exceptional customer service you have come to know.
Bank First is thrilled to announce that upon completion of the merger, Tim McFarlane will assume the role of President and will join the Board of Directors of Bank First, N.A. He will also be nominated to the Bank First Corporation Board of Directors. Similar to Bank First, Tim has cultivated a culture deeply committed to relationship-based, community banking and is focused on helping employees grow personally and professionally. Tim is a natural fit to bring together the cultures of Bank First and Hometown.
Personal Banking Questions
What will happen to my deposit account(s)?
The current names, features, and benefits of your Hometown deposit accounts will be converted to similar Bank First deposit accounts. As the merger approaches, Bank First will be sending you a comprehensive Welcome Guide with detailed information on your accounts.
Will automatic transfers, automatic loan payments, and direct deposits continue to work?
Direct deposits will continue to be deposited directly into your account. Automatic payments that are set up using a routing number and checking or savings account number (ACH) will continue to work. If payments were set up via your debit card, those will need to be updated with your new debit card information.
Will my account number(s) change?
In almost all cases, account numbers will remain the same. There may be a small number of duplicate account numbers between the two banks. If that is the case, we will work with impacted customers prior to the merger to change those account numbers.
Can I use my Hometown checks after the merger?
Yes, you may continue using your Hometown checks after the conversion of your account. Once you run out of checks, you will be able to order new ones from Bank First.
Will the merger affect my existing Hometown loan?
No changes will be made to the payments, interest rates, or other terms of your existing loan until maturity.
Will my loan number change?
No. Your loan number will remain the same.
My loan payment is automatically deducted from my deposit account. Will that service continue?
Yes. Automatic payments will continue as usual, on the same schedule.
Who will be servicing my loan after the merger?
Bank First services a vast majority of its loans locally. You can expect to receive exceptional customer service and personal attention from the same friendly faces you’ve come to know at Hometown.
Will decisions about my loan continue to be made locally?
Absolutely! As an independent community bank, loan decisions will still be made locally by the same dedicated team of bankers who live and work in the communities we serve.