The Bank Slate


First Merchants freed from 2019 Justice Department order

First Merchants in Muncie, Ind., has been freed from a 2019 order from the Department of Justice tied to its fair lending practices.

The $17.7 billion-asset company disclosed in a regulatory filing that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana approved a joint request from its bank and the DoJ to terminated the order.

The order, which was intended to have a four-year term and went into effect in August 2019, was designed to address issues tied to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act. It followed an investigation by the DoJ into the bank’s practices in the Indianapolis market.

The bank physically entered that market in February 2016. A year later, the bank determined that it needed to enhance its mortgage lending strategy in majority-minority neighborhoods and began implementing steps to make those improvements.

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