Credit Union Plans Holland Branch

    HOLLAND — Lake Michigan Credit Union plans to have its first office in Holland and the lakeshore area opened by early next year, as it seeks to carve out a larger share of the market.

    The Grand Rapids-based credit union, one of the largest in Michigan with a deposit base of more than $550 million, planned to break ground today on the new 6,500-square-foot Holland branch at Eighth Street and Waverly Road.

    With 12 percent of its membership living in the Holland-Zeeland area, and with the organization seeking to grow, the new location simply made sense, said Jerri Schmidt, Lake Michigan Credit Union’s director of marketing and business development.

    “The time is now to do this,” Schmidt said.

    Lake Michigan Credit Union has 14 branch locations, all in Kent County, and plans to add new offices in the Grand Rapids area this year, in Caledonia at Kraft Avenue and 60th Street and on Leonard Street near Plymouth. The credit union, with nearly 90,500 members, also has 38 free-standing ATMs in the market.

    Under the credit union’s community charter, anybody who lives or works in its four-county service area that consists of Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan counties is eligible to join.

    In addition to the three new locations now planned for Holland and Grand Rapids, Lake Michigan Credit Union will begin looking to expand into the Grand Haven and Muskegon markets with new branch offices in 2003 as it works to expand within its four-county market, Schmidt said.

    “Just making sure we are covering where our members are is what we’re looking to do,” she said. “We’re all around one region right now.”

    In Holland, the credit union enters a highly competitive market that has changed dramatically in just five years, with leading institutions such as FMB, Old Kent and First of America being acquired, new banks formed such as Macatawa Bank and The Bank of Holland, and others venturing into the market like Byron Center State Bank and Flagstar Bank.

    Even with those changes, there’s enough market demand locally for a large credit union that competes with banks and complements the existing mix of financial institutions, Schmidt said.

    “What we’re looking for in the credit union is consumers always having an alternative,” she said.

    As of Aug. 31, Lake Michigan Credit Union has assets of $624 million, deposits of $550.7 million and loans totaling $504.4 million.           

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