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Economy and Business

First Merit hits 12th straight year of profitable quarters
Early changes in management, direction among reasons


First Merit Bank has had twelve straight years of profitable quarters, and its commercial loans are up.  Analysts say the Akron-based bank made some key changes in management and direction before the recession that helped carry it through the last three years. That included a new CEO, Paul Greig, and chief risk officer, who scaled back on risky loans especially in the housing market. Terry McEvoy with Oppenheimer & Co. says First Merit’s reputation as a super-community bank helped it fill a niche.

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FirstMerit’s first quarterly earnings released today show commercial loans were up nearly 10 percent. First Merit took over more than 50 Chicago branches of First Bank of St. Louis, Midwest Bank and George Washington Savings Bank when they failed early last year.

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