First Busey Corporation keeps itself busy taking care of nest eggs. It's the holding company for Busey Bank, which has more than 40 branches in Illinois, Florida, and Indiana. The bank offers standard deposit products and services; it uses funds from deposits to originate loans, primarily real estate loans and mortgage. First Busey also owns nonbanking subsidiaries. Busey Wealth Management provides asset management, trust, brokerage, and related services to individuals, businesses, and foundations; it has some $4 billion under management. Another subsidiary, FirsTech, provides retail payment processing services. Most of Busey Bank's branches are located in downstate Illinois.
Real estate loans, including commercial and residential mortgages, account for some three-fourths of the bank's loan portfolio. Busey Bank also writes construction, commercial, and consumer installment loans. Busey Trust, a subsidiary of Busey Wealth Management, provides brokerage services (via an arrangement with Raymond James Financial) through its Busey Investment Services division.
Busey Bank has more than 30 branches in Illinois; it has about a half-dozen locations in southwest Florida and another office in Indianapolis.
The bank suffered significant loan-related losses (more than $360 million) in 2008 and 2009. By 2010, the company was once again profitable. Although revenues fell 12% in 2011 to $192 million, net income grew 29% to $30 million that year. The company's loan losses have waned somewhat in the improving economy, but First Busey has also been selling the bad loans it held in its portfolio (which has in turn cut into interest earnings). Additionally, the company has shied away from riskier loans such as commercial mortgages and construction loans. In 2011 the company cut its provision for loan losses from $42 million to $20 million, signaling fewer net charge-offs.
The company's primary market in Illinois hasn't been as badly impacted in the economic downturn as its secondary market in Florida has been. That region has proved to be a drag on the bank, as its recovery has been gradual. Following an industry trend, First Busey recently consolidated its various bank charters under the Busey Bank banner to streamline and cut costs. The company's nonbanking subsidiaries performed better in the economic meltdown, especially FirsTech and the wealth management operations. First Busey plans to invest significantly into the business to spur organic growth and maintain its diverse sources of revenues. – less