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With deal, area bank's insurance offerings will expand

PIERRE -- The owners of American Bank & Trust want to add an eighth location in east-central South Dakota and significantly expand insurance services through a merger.

The deal awaits approval by the state Division of Banking. It would bring Peoples State Bank of De Smet into the steadily growing company and create a new joint-ownership structure.

American Bank & Trust currently is headquartered at Wessington Springs and has two branches at Huron and branches at Mellette, Alpena, Wolsey and Miller.

Five branches were purchased or started since 1986, and three new bank buildings and a major addition have been constructed since 1998.

Peoples State Bank would become a seventh branch under the merger.

Peoples State Bank and American Bank & Trust are owned by separate holding companies, but the major stockholders are the same people. The Steele family purchased the Wessington Springs bank and its Alpena branch in 1972. The business began in Alpena in 1888.

According to the merger application, for De Smet the new merger means additional offerings of trust services, retail investment brokerage services and a secondary mortgage market for consumer home loans.

Meanwhile, the Meyer Insurance Agency operated by Peoples State Bank would become part of American Bank & Trust.

The Meyer agency offers credit, personal, life, health, property, crop, business and casualty insurance. American Bank & Trust would offer all of those lines, plus the credit and crop insurance lines it has previously offered, according to the application.

The effective date for the merger would be the close of business on Sept. 30.

American Bank & Trust chairman Jack Steele of Wolsey has 28.4 percent and spouse Donna Steele has 28.24 percent of the Peoples holding company's shares, while he owns 31.42 percent and she owns 30.96 percent of the American Bank holding company's shares.

The Colleen Yunker trust has 14.48 percent of the Peoples holding company's shares and 27.92 percent of the American Bank holding company's shares.

The Ken and Suzanne Roeder living trust owns 28.88 percent of the People holding company's shares. Ken Roeder is president and chief executive officer for Peoples State Bank.

He would become an executive vice president of American Bank & Trust after the merger.

Lynn Schneider is president and CEO of American Bank & Trust and would continue in that position after the merger. Schneider currently owns 4.89 percent of the shares in the American Bank holding company.

Preston Steele also would be an executive vice president after the merger. He and Tasha Lee each owns 2.41 percent of the shares in the American Bank holding company.