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Jess Underwood: A decision to make on a local bank
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A recent article in the Monroe Times announced the sale of the Juda bank. The headline would have been more appropriate to read, proposed sale. The sale is not complete until the stockholders vote their approval.

The bank has been a Juda institution for more than 100 years, proudly serving the community, through good times and bad. There was no clear reason for the sale other than saying it would give customers more options in banking and more access to advanced technology. The bank has a long record of profitability and good service to the community, along with substantial assets. There still are many small banks the size of Juda that keep going. According to the FDIC Web site, local banks in Gratiot, Monticello and Pearl City, Ill., are of similar size. There is something to be said for being able to walk into the bank and to meet with the president. The same FDIC Web site also shows there are no banks with headquarters in Monroe.

What happens if Bancorp of New Glarus is acquired by a Madison bank? Granted, improvements need to be made and some growth is needed, not insurmountable problems, and there are sufficient funds that could be used to accomplish the needed upgrades.

The reported offer is substantially greater than the present value of the stock. Since Bancorp of New Glarus is not planning to lose money on this deal, it indicates the Juda bank has a lot of potential for future profit. Some of the stock has been in the same families for several generations because they valued the community-owned bank more than a high rate of return that could be had with other investments. The stockholders need to decide which road to take. Take your money and run, or direct the management and board to invest in the technology needed to keep the bank a Juda community-owned-and-controlled institution.