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First Merchants CEO: Charter conversion due to economics

Muncie, Ind.-based FirstMerchants Bank's conversion from a national institution to an Indianastate-chartered bank was due to economics and the proximity to examiners, Presidentand CEO Michael Rechin said on an April 26 earnings call.

The Indiana Department of Financial Institutions became the bank'sprimary regulator and the FDIC is the bank's primary federal regulator as a resultof the conversion, whichwas effective April 15. The OCC was the bank's previous regulator.

"The difference between the two primary regulators onlywidens as the balance sheet enlarges," he said.

Rechin said the Indiana regulators are "extremely familiarwith this market" and converting was the right thing to do given that is wheremost of the bank's growth is.

First MerchantsCorp. reported net income available to common shareholders of $17.7million, or 43 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2016, compared to $16.2million, or 43 cents per share, during the first quarter of 2015.