Monday, November 30, 2020


Peoria, IL and Pine Bluff, AR – Citizens Equity First Credit Union (“CEFCU”) and Simmons

Bank (“Simmons”) have entered into an agreement pursuant to which CEFCU will purchase four

Simmons Bank branches located in the Metro East area of Southern Illinois, near St. Louis. Select

loan and deposit accounts, along with non-deposit product relationships, are included in the purchase.

Subject to the approval of the purchase by the appropriate state and federal regulatory

agencies, CEFCU expects the transition to occur in the first quarter of 2021. Customers of the four

Simmons’ branches will receive communications from CEFCU and Simmons Bank with additional

information about the change.

“CEFCU has a longstanding history of success and growth through improving the financial

well-being of members and the communities we serve. We’re excited to expand the opportunities for

more individuals to experience the benefits of CEFCU membership,” said CEFCU CEO & President

Mark Spenny. 

“We are pleased about the opportunity this transaction provides our Illinois customers and

associates and believe the partnership with CEFCU will be very beneficial for all stakeholders,”

said George Makris, Jr., President & CEO of Simmons Bank.

These four additional branches bring CEFCU’s total locations to 31 throughout Illinois and



With assets totaling over $6.9 billion, CEFCU serves nearly 355,000 members through 26 Illinois

Member Centers and 5 California Member Centers, the CEFCU Financial Center, the Money Center

24 ATM Network, CEFCU’s website,, the surcharge-free CO-OP ATM Network, and the CU

Service Center Shared Branch Network.

About Simmons Bank

Simmons Bank is an Arkansas state-chartered bank that began in 1903. Through the decades,

Simmons Bank has developed a full suite of financial products and services designed to meet the

needs of individual consumers and business customers alike. Simmons Bank has grown steadily and

today assists customers from more than 200 branch locations. Simmons Bank is the subsidiary bank

for Simmons First National Corporation (NASDAQ: SFNC), a publicly traded bank holding company

headquartered in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, with total consolidated assets of $21.4 billion as of September

30, 2020. For more information, visit

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Get Your Gift On!

Hopedale, IL – It’s never too early to start you Christmas shopping or even to buy a little gift for yourself.  The Hopedale Wellness Center is excited to offer their 2020 Holiday Specials starting on November 23, 2020 and running through December 23, 2020.

Kick off the New Year with one of these great deals to continue your current wellness journey or to start down a path of healthy choices for 2021.  We have different options available within a variety of price ranges or you can even go for a 3, 6, or 12-month membership at the Hopedale Wellness Center for 25% off the list price.

Interested in massages?  Buy 3 and get 1 free with a limit of 2 packages per person.  Need someone to help you be accountable in your health journey?  Buy 12 personal training sessions for $300 with a limit of 2 packages per person.  Do you have a student who has some extra time on their hands?  Give them a 1-month student membership for $15.  A valid student id is required, and the student must be between the ages of 18-25.  And, finally, not sure if you are ready for the commitment?  Give us a try by buying 1 punch card, good for 9 visits for $60 and get the 2nd one for $30.

Explore our 15,000 square foot facility that includes a walking track, weights, basketball court, specialized classes, lap pool, and much more.  Experience the Hopedale Wellness Center!


If you would like more information about this, please call Kadie King at 309.449.4500 or email her at

Monday, November 9, 2020

From the Illinois Chamber - This Week in Illinois

Several days after the elections and we still don't have a full accounting of the results. It looks like it may be several weeks before everything is finalized. Let's take a look at what we know so far- starting with some Illinois Chamber victories.

Progressive Income Tax (so called "Fair Tax") Soundly Rejected 

Illinois voters resoundingly rejected the attempts to alter the Illinois Constitution and impose a progressive income tax on Illinois taxpayers and businesses by a vote 55-44%.

This was a huge win for the Chamber and all of our members and partners throughout the state. Early Wednesday morning the Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch released the following statement:

"It is clear that Illinoisans do not trust this legislature and this administration to spend more of their precious tax dollars without restraint."

 "We believe we're on our way to hearing from the electorate that Illinois needs a lot more than tax increases to fix our economy. While it may not be official this morning, it certainly looks like Illinoisans have made their voices heard and want a plan for rescuing our state that is not just raise taxes, raise taxes and raise taxes some more."

Versions of the statement were featured in over 30 election news coverage stories and counting. You can view these stories here.

Chamber looks to future after non-retention of Justice Kilbride

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce PAC was the only business group to publicly call for the non-retention of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride, due to his aggressive anti-business, one-sided approach to judicial rulings. Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch released the following statement on his successful non-retention.

"The voters have spoken. Their unprecedented non-retention of Justice Kilbride is a win for Illinois' economy and small business community. We believe his rejection is due in no small part to his authorship of the opinion that prevented voters from having a say on a fair redistricting process limiting their ability to choose their own elected officials. His non-retention creates a fresh landscape for the people of the Third Judicial District to elect a more unbiased, even-handed justice in 2022."

Voters decided not to retain Justice Kilbride by a margin of 56-43%. He needed 60% to prevail. 
The 2022 race to replace him, and which will determine the partisan makeup of The Illinois Supreme Court, will be one for the record books.  Rest assured the Chamber will remain very involved. 

Chamber Endorsed Judge David Overstreet Elected to IL Supreme Court by a Large Margin

Judge Overstreet will be elevated to the Illinois Supreme Court. He won 62% of the vote.  Judge Overstreet is currently an appellate court judge. The Chamber was one of the first groups to endorse Judge Overstreet prior to the March primary. He will admirably fill the big shoes left by Justice Karmeier.

Senate Republicans Elect New Leader 

The Senate Republicans yesterday elected a new leader, Dan McConchie from suburban Chicago. Senator McConchie's district covers parts of Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. Senator McConchie is considered a policy wonk and a great tactical thinker. Senator McConchie is a pro-business legislator. He scored a 97% rating in the Chamber's latest legislative ratings covering the last two years. We look forward to working with him in the future.

General Assembly Makeup Shifts

The following should be read with a caution that the state is still awaiting the arrival and counting of mail in ballots in races that have been deemed too close to call. Some races may flip after the arrival of these ballots. With what we know now, it appears that the Illinois House Republicans will pick up two seats and the Illinois Senate Republicans will pick up one seat. If these results hold, the House Democratic margin will be 72D-46R.  The Senate margin will be 41D-18R.

Senate Change

The 25th Senate District flipped from Republican to Democratic. Senator Oberweis left the seat to run for Congress. Democrat Karina Villa is slightly ahead of Republican Ward. Ward just conceded the race. Senator Koehler held off a tough challenge from Mary Burress in his Peoria area seat. 

Likely Republican Pickups
  • Republican Seth Lewis leads Dem. Diane Pappas (45th District)
  • Republican Chris Bos leads Dem. Mary Edly-Allen (51st District)
  • Republican Amy Elik leads Dem. Monica Bristow seat (111th)
  • Republican David Freiss has defeated Dem. Nathan Reitz (116th). This margin is large enough that there cannot be enough ballots left to make up the difference
Likely Democratic Pickups
  • Democrat Janet Yang-Rohr leads Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Grant Wehrli (41st District)
  • Dem. Suzanne Ness leads Rep. Allen Skillicorn (66th District)
Likely Republican Holds
  • Rep. Brad Stephens (20th) has a large lead on Michelle Darbo. This was a very impressive win for the freshman Republican.
  • Rep. Amy Grant (42nd) leads Democrat Ken Meijia-Beal
  • Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (47th District)
  • Rep. Tom Morison (54th) is a dogged campaigner and good friend of the Illinois Chamber. He leads Maggie Trevor by a fairly comfortable margin and we will be happy to see him back in Springfield
  • Rep. Dan Ugaste (65th) defeats Martha Paschke
  • Rep. John Cabello (68th) over Dem. Dave Villa. Remaining ballots may flip this race.
  • Rep. Mark Batinick (97th) leads Democrat Harry Benton.
Likely Democratic Holds
  • Dem. Terra Costa-Howard (48th) defeated former Rep. Peter Breen
  • Dem. Maura Hirschauer (49th District) held off a spirited challenge from Republican Laura Curtis
  • Dem. Joyce Mason (61st) defeated Dan Yost
  • Dem. Michael Halpin (72nd) won by a comfortable margin over Glen Evans
  • Dem. Lance Yednock seat (76th District) leads Travis Breeden
  • Dem. Anne Stava-Murray (81st) defeats Republican Laura Hose
Federal Results
Senator Dick Durbin cruised to re-election. He won 52-41 against Republican Mark Curran, a former sheriff. Illinois will continue to send two Democratic Senators to Washington.

The US House races were a mixed bag:
  • IL-o6: Democrat Sean Casten defeated former State Representative Jeanne Ives 52-47. This is a long held GOP seat that flipped to the Democrats in 2018
  • IL 12: Republican Mike Bost won re-election with a nearly 2:1 margin. This former democratic bastion (home of Jerry Costello) is now reliably GOP.
  • IL-13: Incumbent Republican Rodney Davis easily defeated Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Longdrigan. This was expected to be a close race but Congressman Davis put this one away with relative ease. Congressman Davis is a rising star in the GOP.
  • IL 14: This race remains too close to call between incumbent Democrat Lauren Underwood and Republican challenger, State Senator Jim Oberweis. Oberweis holds a narrow lead as we wait for mail in ballots.
  • IL 17: DCCC Chair, Congressman Cheri Bustos barely survived a challenge from little known Republican Esther Joy King 51-49%. Money came in late to this race when donors realized King had a shot at a shocking upset. Expect a very competitive, and costly, race in this district in two years.