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Ross Buys Controlling Interest in Florida Bank

Friday, 16 Jan 2009 11:57 AM

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Investor Wilbur L. Ross announced today that he will acquire the majority shares of First Bank and Trust Company of Indiantown, Florida. The agreement allows Mr. Ross to acquire 68.11 percent of the shares in the community bank, subject to regulatory approval.

The bank has branches in Lakeport, Okeechobee and Palm City. As of December 31, 2008, the financial institution had assets of $83 million and equity of $8.1 million.

Mr. Ross reached the agreement with Linda M. Post, widow of the former chairman of First Bank and Trust Company of Indiantown. Mr. Post's family founded the bank in 1959. Mrs. Post will remain a director of the bank and will be named chair emeritus, retaining 22.75 percent interest in the bank.

"This is one of the few banks in Florida that has avoided the credit crisis very effectively," Mr. Ross said. "Because it is well positioned to grow, I am prepared to provide the institution with additional capital so that it can continue to thrive and continue to serve as a stalwart financial institution in the communities it serves."

Mr. Ross has made his interest in purchasing a financial institution in Florida well-known and has exhibited a strong commitment to investing in the financial industry not only in Florida but throughout the nation.

"We are thrilled that an experienced and successful investor like Mr. Ross has agreed to join our bank to help us continue the institution's success and commitment to the community which we have had for the last 50 years," said Mrs. Post. "Mr. Ross embodies many of the same principles that form the foundation of this institution: growth, exemplary service and an unwavering commitment to our customers, depositors and the communities we serve."

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