Independent Sets Succession Plan

    IONIA — A transfer of responsibility is taking place over the next three years at Independent Bank Corp.

    Michael M. Magee Jr. is preparing to succeed Charles Van Loan as president and CEO of the holding company upon Van Loan’s retirement Dec. 31, 2006.

    Magee was named executive vice president and COO of Independent Bank Corp. in February and continues to carry out his duties as president of Independent Bank headquartered in Bay City, as well.

    Independent Bank Corp. is the holding company for four banks in different parts of the state that operate under what Van Loan calls a “fairly decentralized system.” The corporation’s four subsidiaries collectively operate 97 banking offices across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

    A fifth acquisition, North Bancorp in Gaylord, is scheduled for completion in July.

    Van Loan said the company expects Magee’s successor for the Independent Bank system in Bay City will be selected by mid-year and will take over the position by year’s end. Magee will relocate to Ionia this summer.

    The first step in the transition process has been the transfer of day-to-day oversight of the four subsidiaries from Van Loan to Magee. Magee’s immediate task is to work with those bank presidents to develop their ongoing strategies, Van Loan said.

    Magee said that between now and year-end his focus will be on establishing deeper relationships with the other banks within the holding company. He has begun accompanying Van Loan to the various corporate presentations that Independent puts on for market analysts and mutual fund managers.

    Van Loan is also filling him in on corporate governance matters.

    “For the next couple of years I’ll be on a steep learning curve when it comes to SEC regulations and running a publicly held corporation,” Magee said.

    “That’s kind of a new ballgame for me.”

    On Jan. 1, 2005, he will become president and COO of the bank holding company, at which time all corporate departments — with the exception of accounting, finance and internal audit — will begin reporting to him. His additional duties will include oversight of loan operations, deposit operations, consumer resources, marketing and technology, among other things.

    The final step in the transition comes Jan. 1, 2006. That’s when Magee takes on the duties of president and CEO of the corporation, with all departments and subsidiary banks reporting to him.

    Plans call for Van Loan to assist Magee throughout the final year of the transition.

    Van Loan has been president and CEO of Independent Bank Corp. since 1992 and has worked for the company for 24 years all together.

    He came to the bank as director and vice president of human resources in 1980. Later that same year, he was put in charge of the six-branch system of one of Independent’s four banks.

    In 1984, he ceased being director of human resources and took on responsibility for all of that particular bank’s operations, with the exception of commercial lending. Three years later he was promoted to president of Independent Bank, which was then known as First Security Bank.

    In 1992 he was promoted to president of Independent Bank Corp., the holding company for all four Independent banks. 

    Independent hired Magee 17 years ago as vice president of the holding company’s lead bank and was put in charge of retail banking, with oversight of consumer and mortgage lending, as well as the lead bank’s branch system.

    “I learned early in my career that it was not how great of a job I personally did; it was the positive results I was able to generate through the efforts of the people that worked for me,” Magee recalled.

    “I also realized I could not take on additional responsibilities until I delegated enough of my day-to-day functions so that I had the capacity to take on additional responsibility.”

    Magee went on to become senior vice president of the lead bank and his role expanded to commercial lending.

    When Van Loan became president of the holding company, Magee was chosen to succeed him as president and CEO of the lead bank. 

    Magee said among the highlights of his career were the two bank acquisitions he was responsible for.

    “We acquired poor-performing banks and we were able within a couple of years to turn them into high-performing banks.

    “What also motivates me is providing employment opportunities for individuals within our communities,” Magee said. “We want to provide a very professional atmosphere where our employees enjoy coming to work and our customers enjoy doing business with us.”

    Van Loan said he’s particularly proud of the professional staff Independent has assembled over the years and the low turnover in its management ranks.

    “I have a lot of pride in their accomplishments,” he added. “We have an awful lot of people in administration who have been here 19 or 20 years.”

    As far as his retirement is concerned, Van Loan is looking forward to doing some traveling, as well as contributing more of his time and energy to community organizations, he said.

    Magee said he’s looking forward to finding opportunities that will help Independent Bank Corp. increase earnings per share.

    “Whether acquisitions within our current markets or opportunities outside our markets, we’ll look at everything that we can do to increase our earnings per share and maintain asset quality.” 

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