Petoskey resident opens bank

PETOSKEY – After seven months of planning, Petoskey resident Bob Bleyaert has opened The Bank of Northern Michigan in temporary quarters in the Gaslight District. It will relocate downtown next year, but a site has not yet been chosen.

With 55 local owner/investors and a local board of directors, it is a full-service bank focusing on personal service and attention to customers’ specific needs. Services include all types of business and personal loans and deposits, as well as residential mortgage loans. There is a courier service available to pick up deposits from business customers, full check imaging for ease of check storage and research, and free use of all ATMs for customers.

For the past 27 years Bleyaert worked for Bank One in Petoskey. He started there when it was known as First National Bank, and stayed on through the changeover to NBD.

“In my career I have been a part of and witnessed several mergers which have moved banks from local ownership and management to being branches of large nationwide banking franchises,” he said. “Mergers and acquisitions continue to be commonplace…and this trend has given us a unique opportunity to offer local residents an important choice in banking.”

When asked how he felt about locally-owned Empire Banc Corp. in Traverse City signing an agreement to sell to Huntington Bancshares, a regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Bleyaert said: “They did what was right for their shareholders and were doing what’s right for our shareholders.”

The Bank of Northern Michigan board includes retired CPA Richard Lent; Lyn Jenks, vice president of the Northern Michigan Regional Health System; Thomas Irwin, president of H & D Inc.; and William Norcross, president of Preston Feather Building Centers.

Banking hours are 9-5, with special appointments available. Call (231) 487-1765 for details. BIZNEWS