OAK declines TARP funds


    OAK Financial Corp., the holding company for Byron Bank, announced today that its board of directors and executive management team have declined $20 million in funding made available to the company earlier this year under the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Assets Relief Program.

    President and CEO Patrick Gill said Treasury unconditionally approved OAK’s application for TARP participation, which management believes reflects the overall strength of the company and the stability of the franchise.

    “Our decision to decline TARP was reached after careful consideration of the implications of program participation and a comprehensive evaluation of the available alternatives. Our balance sheet is strong, we’re well-capitalized by regulatory definition and our credit quality remains superior to that of most Michigan banks,” Gill said. “In addition, we became increasingly concerned with the constraints, both existing and proposed, of the program and with the excessive political posturing surrounding it. While we don’t fault those banks that have chosen to participate in TARP, we believe that the risks to our shareholders and to our company far outweigh the potential advantages.”

    Gill noted that the company’s loans grew by a “market-leading” 18 percent in 2008 and that Byron Bank has every intention of continuing to support the growth of West Michigan.

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