MORTON -- Associated Bank is ending its Peoria-area operations.
The bank based in Green Bay, Wis., is selling its local branches to Hometown Community Banks, a division of Morton Community Bank.
Hometown President and co-CEO Andy Honegger confirmed the sale Wednesday, not long after Associated Bank customers received a letter that notified them about it.
As part of the sale, four of the five Associated branches in the Peoria area are to close for good later this year. The fifth branch, located at 2311 W. Pioneer Parkway in Peoria, is to become a Hometown Community Bank office.
The Associated offices to close Dec. 11 are located at 406 W. Camp St. in East Peoria, 300 S. Fourth St. in Pekin and at two Peoria sites -- 240 SW Jefferson Ave. and 4600 N. Brandywine Drive.
Morton Community Bank was founded 60 years ago. Under the Hometown banner, it has branches in more than 30 Illinois communities, including four locations in Peoria.
"It’s an in-market deal, and we have existing branches," Honegger said about the Associated closures. "We looked at the totality of the coverage and the proximity of the branches and made an overall decision."
The Pioneer Parkway office is to reopen Dec. 14 as a Hometown facility. As of that date, Associated customers are to be free to use any Hometown branch.
Honegger and Patti Abel, the Associated Bank community market president for Peoria, signed the letter that announced the sale and the closings. Honegger told Nick in the Morning that Associated approached his bank about a sale.
"It’s a Wisconsin bank that decided, for whatever reason, to leave the Peoria market," Honegger said. "We’re more than happy to have new customers, and we’re going to treat them like gold."
Associated Bank has more than 200 branches in eight states, most of them in the Midwest. Previously in Downtown Peoria, Associated was located in the building that once shared the bank’s name, at 411 Hamilton Blvd.
Earlier, Associated closed its branch in Chillicothe. That facility, at 1007 N. Fourth St., is to reopen later this year as a Hometown branch, Honegger said.