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First State Bank to Acquire Pioneer Bank in North Central Wisconsin

New London, Wisconsin – First State Bancshares, Inc., parent company of First State Bank, has entered into a definitive purchase agreement with Pioneer Bancorp, Inc., parent company of Pioneer Bank which has seven offices in North Central Wisconsin: Auburndale (main office), Greenwood, Marshfield, Rozellville, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, and Withee. 

Pending regulatory approval and Pioneer Bancorp, Inc. shareholder approval, the purchase is expected to close early this fall. First State Bancshares, Inc. will acquire 100% of the outstanding common stock of Pioneer Bancorp, Inc. Pioneer Bank’s seven offices will subsequently merge with First State Bank in early 2020 and operate under the First State Bank name. 

When the merger is complete, Jeff Whitrock, president and CEO of Pioneer Bank will join First State Bank as senior vice president/chief market development and sales officer. He will lead the growth and development of the bank’s business and personal banking across its entire market area. Jim Nowak, Pioneer Bank’s chief financial officer, will also join First State Bank as senior vice president and chief operations officer, responsible for overseeing all aspects of operations. Robert Van Asten will continue to lead First State Bank as president and CEO. 

Van Asten commented, “Our two organizations are very complementary and together will be stronger in providing customers with the best products, convenience, and fantastic service from people they know and trust. We are both committed to the principles of community banking serving families, businesses and communities in North Central Wisconsin.”  

“Like Pioneer Bank, First State Bank has a long history as an independent community bank with offices in rural communities,” said Jeff Whitrock, president and CEO of Pioneer Bank. “With our merger, we’ll be preserving Pioneer’s original 1910 core values and the personal relationships our employees have built with our customers and communities.”

First State Bank has offices in New London, Clintonville, Manawa, Waupaca, Cecil, and Rudolph with total assets of $300 million. Pioneer Bank’s total assets are $160 million.


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