Partnership Bank to be acquired by Bank First National

By Laurie Arendt

Jan. 24, 2019

The Partnership Bank on the corner of Washington Avenue and Mill Street in Cedarburg is one of two branches in Ozaukee County. A third is in Watertown.
Submitted photo

CEDARBURG — It’s a new chapter for another homegrown Ozaukee County banking institution. On Wednesday, Manitowoc-based Bank First National Corp. announced plans to acquire Cedarburg-based Partnership Bank.

“Bank First is a Wisconsin- based homegrown community bank just like us,” said David Braaten, president and CEO of Partnership Bank, in a statement. ”Our values, vision for building relationships and delivery of remarkable client service closely align. Merging with Bank First provides us additional strength and resources for growth in our markets and the ability to efficiently deliver innovative products and services to our clients.”

Partnership Bank, originally a branch of Tomah-based First Bank, was established in late 2012. It was established by many of the former executives of Ozaukee Bank, which was acquired by BMO Harris in 2008. Though its headquarters remained in Cedarburg and the original bank remained in Tomah, the bank has grown to 73 employees with additional branches in Mequon and Watertown.

Bank First National Corp. is a bank holding company headquartered in Manitowoc, with total assets of approximately $1.8 billion. Its principal activity is the ownership and operation of Bank First, a nationally-chartered community bank that operates 18 branches in Wisconsin with 275 total employees. The bank’s history dates back to 1894 when it was founded as the Bank of Manitowoc.

In addition to its original banking business, Bank First also owns 30 percent of Ansay & Associates, the Port Washington-based independent insurance company that was founded in 1946 but has grown to 22 offices throughout Wisconsin. According to a press release from Bank First, Partnership’s customers will benefit from a closer connection to Ansay’s insurance and risk management solutions. Bank First is also the minority owner in UFS, LLC, a company that provides data and technology services to 60 Midwest banks. Bank First’s relationship with UFS gives it the buying power of a large regional bank, creating opportunities to access the latest advancements in banking technology at a faster rate than its peers.

Another opportunity for the combined organization is to leverage Bank First’s sophisticated suite of treasury management products and services. The integration of Bank First’s treasury management services will add significant value for Partnership Bank customers.

As of Dec. 31, 2018, Partnership had approximately $306.8 million in consolidated assets, $267.1 million in net loans, $261.6 million in deposits and $21.6 million in consolidated stockholders’ equity. Based on the financial results as of Dec. 31, 2018, the combined company will have total assets of approximately $2.1 billion, loans of approximately $1.7 billion and deposits of approximately $1.8 billion.

As for Partnership Bank, once the merger is complete, one change is for sure: It will take on the Bank First name. The merger has a current target date of July 12, 2019.