In the aftermath of the great depression, C.D. Oberwortmann, Andrew Barber and Frank Turk founded Union National Bank and Trust Company of Joliet. Only one bank in Joliet had survived from the 1930s. These three men made a personal commitment to bring quality banking back to the area. Their original slogan was “The Friendly Bank” and summarized their commitment to treating the person in the overalls and the person in the business suit the same way. Their idea of focusing on an individual’s needs, regardless of their net worth, proved to be extremely successful, not just the right thing to do. Over the next 40 years, Obie, Andy and Frank grew their modest bank on West Jefferson Street in Joliet into a chain of 20 banks affiliated through their common ownership and strong values.
As the company moved to the next generation of management in the early 80s, a bold vision to unite this chain of 20 banks emerged from the planning process. A new public entity was created, First Midwest. The name symbolized the next generation’s vision for the future reach and scale of our company. They worked side by side with Illinois lawmakers and wrote the bill lifting the prohibition on multibank holding companies. In 1983, their determination paid off as First Midwest Bancorp, Inc. acquired the stock of the 20 affiliated banks. At that time, this was the largest simultaneous acquisition of banks ever approved by the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC.