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West Liberty, OH

Local bank completes merger

Stanley JacksonThe Citizens Bank of DeGraff and Buckeye Nation Interim are pleased to announce the completion of their merger. With the combined entity, Citizens Bank of DeGraff will continue as a strong, well-capitalized community bank, while expanding products and services to serve the citizens and local businesses of DeGraff and Logan County. In addition, the merger will allow Citizens Bank of DeGraff to expand and bring its high-touch service to the central Ohio market. Citizens is a state-chartered, FDIC-insured commercial bank, formed in 1885 and is one of the oldest, independently-owned and operated financial institutions in the state. Citizens Bank of DeGraff is located at 101 North Main Street in DeGraff, while its new loan office will be located at 200 East Campus View Blvd, Suite 200 in Columbus.

Mike Wallace, former president of Citizens Bank of DeGraff and continuing member of the board of directors said, “The merger allows our company to continue our mission of delivering great banking service to our community, while we take the next step in our storied history. We are excited about the vision and direction of our combined companies.”

Shawn Keller, who will serve as president and CEO of the merged entities said, “Our goal is to bring Starbucks and Nordstrom’s together in the banking environment – matching high level attention to detail with high touch, personal service that causes people to talk. We will offer the technology and services of the big banks while remaining true to our roots and delivering an exceptional customer experience. And of course, we’ll do it the only way we know how – the Buckeye way.”

Buckeye is a company formed by local business leaders and former Ohio State University football players Dan Wilkinson and Stanley Jackson. In addition to Mr. Keller and Mr. Wallace, the new board of directors will consist of Chairman Mr. Steve Haxton, former executive at Nationwide and current owner of Jacob, Haxton and Boord; Mr. Michael Reidelbach, former owner and president of American Health; Mr. William Ruse, former CEO of Blanchard Valley Health Systems; Mr. Dan Wilkinson, former OSU and NFL player and current franchisee of Chuck E. Cheese; Mr. Philip Kinley, former president of Commercial Savings Bank and Executive Vice President for the Citizens, along with Mr. Keller and Mr. Wallace.

Mr. Haxton noted, “With the expansion of our new loan office near Worthington, we are committed to working with small business owners, homeowners, and the local community to have a positive impact on lives, and live up to the purpose of a community bank. Simply put, to treat people as individuals, and not a number, as we work together to meet and exceed their financial goals.”

In connection with the transaction, Austin Associates, LLC, was used by Citizens Bank of DeGraff as its financial advisor and Shumaker Loop & Kendrick, LLP as its legal counsel. Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP is acting as legal counsel to Buckeye Nation Interim.

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