mBank makes moves with new merger, executives

The Manistique-based mBank is continuing its expansion, this time into northern lower Michigan, and is making some management hiring decisions as well.


Having acquired small banks across the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin in the last few years, mBank is now expanding its locations downstate, with a merger with First Federal of Northern Michigan.


First Federal is based in Alpena and is joining the mBank family with seven full-service bank locations across northern Michigan, bringing the mBank total to 30 locations. (Previously, First Federal sold its Oscoda location to a third party.) The new locations are in Alanson, Cheboygan, Gaylord, Lewiston, Mio, and two in Alpena.


What mBank is acquiring: about $320 million in assets and $283 million in deposits. The transaction should be finalized in the first half of 2018. First Federal of Northern Michigan will become a subsidiary of Mackinac Financial Corporation, the company that owns mBank. This is mBank's fourth such merger since 2014.


The merger has yet to be approved by shareholders of both banks. FFNM CEO Michael W. Mahler will stay on in Alpena as executive VP of community banking and administration to make the transition smooth and ensure ongoing customer satisfaction with the changes.


"We are extremely pleased and excited to be able to partner with another long-standing community-focused institution in First Federal and have Mike join our executive leadership team as Alpena becomes another key commerce and operational hub of the organization." says Kelly W. George, mBank president and CEO.


FFNM board chairman Martin Thomson adds, "Given mBank's presence and commitment to many Northern Michigan communities, businesses and residents, they are an excellent fit for our organization and customer base. We believe our similar business philosophies will result in the preeminent bank in Northern Michigan."


Just prior to the merger announcement, mBank made some more executive-level moves, with the promotion of two new executive VPS and two more VPs.


Clay Peterson is now executive VP, western U.P. and Wisconsin market executive and managing director of retail banking. Joanna Slaght is now executive VP and managing director of administration and regulatory compliance risk. Both join the mBank executive team.


Sherry Arnold was also promoted to senior VP of bank administration and training and development manager, while Julie Bosanic's new title is VP and director of mortgage administration.


Arnold will be located in Manistique and has over 20 years of senior leadership experience in the healthcare field. She oversees professional development initiatives as well as directing the bank's marketing and public relations strategy.


Bosanic will also work from the bank's Manistique headquarters. She has been with mBank for 16 years and has moved up through the mortgage and management ranks. She provides leadership for all areas of mortgage lending, such as procedures, loan quality and customer service.

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