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First Midwest Bank adds ESOP lending

A First Midwest Bank branch in Griffith.

First Midwest Bank has launched ESOP — employee stock ownership plan — lending services for business owners looking to leave their companies to their employees.

The Chicago-based bank, which has an extensive footprint across Northwest Indiana, added an ESOP Finance Group that will lend nationally.

“With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, a growing number of companies will transition to new ownership in the next 10 years, and ESOPs are increasing in visibility as an attractive option for many owners, including many First Midwest clients,” said Mike Jamieson, executive vice president and director of commercial banking. “Providing guidance and financing for a sale to an ESOP requires highly specialized expertise, so it was important for us to establish a dedicated team of bankers who can provide the type of value-added service First Midwest is committed to delivering to existing and new customers.”

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Elizabeth Di Cola, who has more than 35 years experience with commercial banking and corporate finance, including at Fifth Third Bank and MB Financial, will lead the group, which will offer financial services to companies transitioning to employee ownership. It's become an increasingly popular option pursued by companies like Urschel Laboratories in Chesterton and Korellis Roofing in Hammond.

One of the largest publicly traded banks based in Chicago with about $17 billion in assets and $12 billion in assets under management, First Midwest has branches in Crown Point, Dyer, East Chicago, Gary, Griffith, Hammond, Highland, Merrillville, Munster, Schererville, and St. John.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.