First Merchants in Muncie, Ind., has agreed to buy MBT Financial in Monroe, Mich.

The $9.7 billion-asset First Merchants said in a press release Wednesday that it would pay $290.9 million in stock to acquire MBTF.

The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter, would mark First Merchants’ entry into Michigan and would send the company over $10 billion in assets.

The $1.3 billion-asset MBTF has 20 branches in southeastern Michigan. Its banking unit, Monroe Bank & Trust, has $733 million in loans and $1.1 billion in deposits.

First Merchants expects earnings per share accretion of about 2.7% in 2020.

The companies have similar cultures and deep roots in their communities, said First Merchants President and CEO Michael Rechin. “We believe that our strategy to be a service-driven alternative to our superregional bank competitors will support the acceleration of Monroe Bank & Trust’s current initiatives while furthering our goal of growing as a high-performing company,” he said in the press release.

Douglas Chaffin, CEO and president of Monroe Bank & Trust, will stay on with the combined company as regional president.

“We believe our partnership with First Merchants will provide tremendous benefits to our customers, shareholders and communities as we look forward to continuing the legacy of exceptional customer service, local responsiveness and strong community engagement that has defined Monroe Bank & Trust for 160 years,” Chaffin said in the release.

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP advised First Merchants. Sandler O’Neill and Donnelly Penman & Partners advised MBTF; Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP served as legal adviser.