Bank of Ann Arbor acquires Plymouth bank as part of expansion plans

There are two types of banks in this world. The big conglomerates everyone sees on the news taking the blame for the current state of the economy and the local banks using these problems as opportunities for growth. Bank of Ann Arbor is in the latter category.

The downtown-based financial institution now employs 181 people, which is nearly double the 96 that were there when we checked in with the firm last fall. Last weekend, Bank of Ann Arbor also acquired the New Liberty Bank in Plymouth, adding another 16 people to its payroll, and expects to hire another 7-10 people over the remainder of the year for everything from commercial lending to investment management to IT.

"We're continuing to add people while other businesses are laying people off or not giving out raises or taking away 401Ks," says Tim Marshall, president and CEO of Bank of Ann Arbor.

The acquisition of the Plymouth-based New Liberty Bank grows the number of locations for Bank of Ann Arbor to seven. It had planned to build and open a Canton branch a few years ago, getting to the point of picking out land and evaluating costs. However, it put the brakes on those plans when the economy started to falter.

The opportunity for expansion into Wayne County presented itself again when New Liberty started to experience problems, prompting the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp to step in. The feds facilitated the acquisition of New Liberty Bank by Bank of Ann Arbor, opening up a whole new yet similar market for the 14-year-old bank.

"We believe that community [Plymouth] and this community [Ann Arbor] will go hand in glove," Marshall says. "There are a lot of people who work at the University of Michigan and other local businesses that live in the Plymouth-Canton area."

He believes BoA2 will help facilitate those who want to bank locally, which they believe is a trend on the upswing after the financial meltdown. It's evidenced by Bank of Ann Arbor's $52 million in new deposits in 2009. It is also open to the possibility of acquiring other local banks in trouble if the opportunity presents itself.

"When we're contacted we would take the opportunity and evaluate it," Marshall says.

Source: Tim Marshall, president and CEO of Bank of Ann Arbor
Writer: Jon Zemke
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