North Country Bank buys Old Kent’s Glen Arbor branch

TRAVERSE CITY – North Country Bank and Trust of Traverse City will soon be adding Glen Arbor to its growing network of branches throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Michigan.

North Country has made an agreement with Old Kent Bank out of Grand Rapids to purchase its Glen Arbor branch for an undisclosed amount, pending regulatory approval. According to Gregg Garver, vice president of North Country Bank, the transaction is scheduled to take place in June.

North Country Bank and Trust was founded in 1934 in Manistique, Mich. and has branches in most county seats throughout the UP. The bank’s home office is being moved from Manistique to the bank’s Traverse City office on U.S. 31 just south of the Grand Traverse Mall.

The bank is one of northern Michigan’s largest independent banks with assets of $600 million. The Glen Arbor branch acquisition is part of North Country’s expansion from the UP to northern Lower Michigan. It’s targeting the Lower Peninsula because of the region’s high growth potential.

Peggy Janei, corporate communications officer with Old Kent Bank in Grand Rapids, says several factors were considered when deciding whether to sell the Glen Arbor branch: historical growth, traffic patterns, the fact that the branch is not in close proximity to other Old Kent branches and North Country’s interest in the Glen Arbor area.

Garver says the changeover should have little affect on branch employees or customers. “The branch employees will remain with us once the transfer has taken place,” he assured.

All current accounts at the Glen Arbor branch will remain with North Country, as well. Once the sale has taken place, North Country will have the opportunity to analyze the Glen Arbor branch accounts. Once analysis is complete, Garver feels confident North Country can offer customers better interest rates and fee structures.

In addition to North Country, there’s another new player in the local banking scene. On March 10, Michigan National Bank celebrated the grand opening of its newest in-store financial center at the Traverse City Meijer.

The office features a 24-hour ATM and a customer service center. Hours are 10-8, daily; 10-6 on Saturday; and 11-5 on Sunday. The bank operates 188 offices in Michigan, including 19 in Meijer stores. BIZNEWS