Bank Opens Sundays

January 13, 2006
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IONIA — Independent Bank’s new Walker branch location in Standale opened Sunday — yes, Sunday — and it’s going to keep its doors open seven days a week, as well as operate extended hours Monday through Saturday.

Several banks already offer extended hours with in-store branch banks. Flagstar Bank, for instance, has banking centers in four Meijer supercenters in Grand Rapids that have extended hours Monday through Saturday and operate from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. But to Independent Bank’s knowledge, its Standale branch is the only stand-alone branch in the Grand Rapids area that’s open for business on Sundays.

The branch is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. It’s Independent Bank’s sixth branch in Grand Rapids.

David C. Reglin, president and CEO of Independent Bank West Michigan, said the decision to open the branch on Sundays and extend hours the other six days of the week was driven by the desire to provide more customer convenience. “We try to do things that are new and creative,” Reglin said. “For example, we were the first one to bring totally free checking to the Grand Rapids metro area eight or nine years ago.”

Branch customers can conduct any banking activity on Sundays and during extended operating hours that they might do during regular banker’s hours, whether making a deposit or applying for a loan. The goal of the Sunday hours and extended hours is simply to enhance customer convenience, he said, because a lot of people work during traditional bank hours.

Reglin said the Standale branch was a unique location to try out the seven-day-a-week concept for several reasons: There’s a new 24-hour Meijer store right across the street, and the Standale business district operates extended hours, too. Independent Bank’s Mason branch switched to the seven-day model last year, Reglin noted. That branch, too, is right across the street from a new Meijer store.

Moreover, the Standale branch is located at the Wilson Avenue and Lake Michigan Drive intersection. That intersection is a gateway to Grand Valley State University that not only generates traffic but provides a healthy employee base for area businesses, he said. The three part-time employees of the new branch, in fact, are GVSU students.

Reglin said the company doesn’t expect to start operating all its branches seven days a week. But he sees it as a way to compete with banks that have in-store branches in retail stores like Meijer. Many in-store branches are open a few hours on Sundays. The Standale Meijer doesn’t have an in-store branch, nor is there any other bank in the area open on Sunday.

The Standale branch will be in grand opening celebration mode today through Sunday. Visitors who drop off a can of soup of other nonperishable food item during the week will be eligible to win prizes, such as a voucher for a seven-day cruise or a chance to win $777 in cash. The food items will be donated to Senior Neighbors and Senior Meals On Wheels programs.

Independent’s holding company, Independent Bank Corp., principally serves rural and suburban communities across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The company has total assets of $3.3 billion and operates more than 100 offices through four state-chartered bank subsidiaries: Independent Bank, Independent Bank West Michigan, Independent Bank East Michigan and Independent Bank South Michigan.    

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