Standard Federal Making Its Moves

    MUSKEGON — Seeking to gain new business and market share, Standard Federal Bank is planning to develop new branches on the lakeshore.

    After opening a second office in the Holland area late last year, Standard Federal plans to build and open a Muskegon branch within a year and is searching for property for a location in the Grand Haven area.

    “We’re growing nicely and that requires continued investment — and that includes the lakeshore,” said Dan Terpsma, of Grand Rapids, Standard Federal’s group senior vice president for West Michigan.

    “We are getting new customers on the lakeshore all the time.”

    Troy-based Standard Federal is a subsidiary of LaSalle Bank Corp., the Chicago-based U.S. banking arm of Dutch banking giant ABN AMRO Bank.

    Standard Federal has more than $50.5 billion in assets, 275 branch offices and 1,100 ATMs in Michigan and Indiana.

    In West Michigan, Standard Federal has 16 offices in Kent County and two in Holland, on the south and north sides of town.

    Most of the West Michigan locations are former Michigan National Bank offices acquired when the two banks merged in 2001.

    Standard Federal began searching for potential new office locations and targeting the lakeshore market soon after the merger with Michigan National, Terpsma said.

    A growing population, vibrant business environment and existing clients who want a local location are luring Standard Federal to expand its branch network along the lakeshore, Terpsma added.

    The new 5,000-square-foot, full-service Muskegon office, on Henry Street on the site of the former JC Penney store, is targeted for occupancy by the spring of 2005.

    Standard Federal then hopes to open an office in the Grand Haven-Spring Lake area by late 2005 or early 2006, Terpsma said.

    From that point, and based on market demand and reception, the bank will weigh the need for additional lakeshore offices, he said.

    “We will build those branches, grow those branches, see what success we achieve and then determine what additional branches we would add,” Terpsma said. “Long term, it’s an excellent fit with the way we do business.”

    As in establishing long-term business relationships with commercial clients, he said.

    Standard Federal initially pursues commercial deposits and lending opportunities through a new office and then leverages the commercial base to build the retail banking side of the business. Included in that strategy is a program called “Workplace Direct,” in which the bank establishes ties with a commercial client and then seeks to sign up its employees for their retail banking.

    “Once we get in the door, we show them a package of products that gives them an advantage for them to do banking with us,” Terpsma said. “That’s worked very effectively.”

    Some 30 percent of the new retail banking accounts Standard Federal opens now come from commercial customers, he said.

    In targeting the lakeshore, Standard Federal is pursuing a larger piece of a highly competitive market that includes large regional players like Fifth Third, National City, Bank One, Chemical Bank and Huntington.

    Also carving out strong positions in the market have been small community banks that were formed in the late 1990s — firms such as Holland-based Macatawa Bank, Muskegon’s Community Shores Bank and Grand Haven Bank, owned by Lansing-based Capitol Bancorp.

    Standard Federal competes more with the regional banks, Terpsma said, targeting small and mid-market businesses with annual sales ranging from $3 million to $500 million.

    Commercial lending officers are organized into market specialists who focus on narrower segments within that range, he said.

    With the size and support of parent organizations — LaSalle Bank, which has $113.1 billion in assets and the $650 billion ABN AMRO Bank — Standard Federal can handle larger businesses and borrowing needs that other banks in the market cannot, Terpsma said.           

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