People First Bancshares Inc. Recognizes Employees and Achievements at Annual Meeting

April 6, 2021

Pana, IL – March 31, 2021 – People First Bancshares, Inc. held its annual meeting at Peoples Bank & Trust in Pana, IL. During the meeting, the Board of Directors reviewed the positive performance of the bank over the post 12 challenging months. Acknowledgements were made to the dedication of staff member’s efforts to keep customers and employees safe while conducting required day-to-day bank functions, community focused lending accomplishments and employee service milestones.

In acknowledging customer/employee safety, John Gardner, President and CEO, stated, “Even with the challenges of the pandemic, our employees were able to continue to meet or exceed our customer expectations and our bank continued to support our communities.” During 2020, 97% of customers surveyed rated their overall customer service experience as Good or Excellent. Employees were commended for efforts to adapt to the challenges and opportunities brought about by the pandemic and for staying focused on long-term objectives. “Our team’s ability to focus on customer needs and living into our mantra of ‘putting people first’ resulted in a year of record performance.” Gardner added.

Employees quickly reacted to the market disruption of the pandemic with vigor. Gardner added, “We are so very proud to have been able to roll out relief programs to support our local communities, industries and families.” Accomplishments include:

o A new fixed rate residential real estate loan product
o Loan payment relief to 776 borrowers
o Implementation of the SBA Payroll Protection Plan, processing over 1000 loans equaling over $60 million in local stimulus funding.

Gardner stated, “The focus on our communities drove our performance this year.” The bank reported record financial performance including an increase in Net Income Before Tax from $7.1 million to $7.6 million. Assets increased by $60.3 million to $488.0 million; deposit volume increased by $40.0 million to $413.1 million; and loans increased by $44.6 million to $322.3 million. Gardner added, “Loan growth was driven by the bank’s participation in guaranteed loan programs as a USDA FSA Preferred Lender and a US SBA Express Lender.” Additionally, the bank achieved significant growth with the USDA RD’s Business Guaranty Program and as a result was recognized as the Program’s 12th largest lender in the country.

Honoring the retirement of four long-term officers was also a key part of the meeting. Retiring officers included: Marty Kerns, Judy Prasun, Ken Hart and David Sprigg. In addition, the bank strengthened its staff by successfully recruiting two talented Business Bankers, Andrew Olson and Lance Vonderheide.

Gardner stated, “Maintaining the best team of banking professionals is the key to the bank’s success. “Also during the meeting, Michael E. Beyers, John Gardner and Michael M. Trexler were re-elected to three-year terms as directors of the Bank and Holding Company. Other directors of the Bank and Holding Company are David Slater, David Dorn, Jr., Brad Davis and Christopher Swing.

During the organizational meeting of the Board of Directors of People First Bancshares, Inc. which followed the annual meeting, Michael M. Trexler was elected Chairman of the Board and David Slater was elected Vice Chairman of the Board. Other officers include John Gardner, President & CEO, James Adcock, Secretary, Terry Schafer, Asst. Secretary and Craig Deere, Treasurer & CFO.

Peoples Bank & Trust is a locally owned and managed, independent community bank with ten offices located in Charleston, Altamont, Tower Hill, Pana, Taylorville, Morrisonville, Springfield, Waverly, Palmyra and White Hall. Peoples Bank & Trust is a full service bank offering outstanding customer service to consumers, small businesses, and farmers in Central Illinois. People First Bancshares, Inc., with corporate offices in Pana, Illinois, is the holding company for Peoples Bank & Trust.

For more information on Peoples Bank & Trust and their available banking services or how they can help with consumer or business lending needs, contact the Bank at 888-728-1954 or visit