LaSalle Looks Ahead

April 6, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — While LaSalle Bank’s parent company, Dutch bank ABN Amro, continues merger talks with London-based Barclays Bank, the LaSalle team in Michigan remains confident in the future.  

LaSalle’s Michigan presence is very attractive to Barclays, said Dan Terpsma, president of LaSalle’s West Michigan region. LaSalle ABN Amro has branches in 53 countries. Its LaSalle Bank subsidiary, headquartered in Chicago, has 260 Michigan branches.

“In Michigan, we have no redundant operations. We’re largely sales people here who are focusing on customers,” Terpsma said. “We don’t really have large backroom operations in West Michigan, so in any acquisition our people should not be impacted.”

Barclays’ acquisition of ABN Amro would create a $166 billion financial services company. But whether it’s Barclays or ABN Amro, LaSalle is well positioned as a global bank, Terpsma noted. Businesses today want and need to know more about the global marketplace.

“These are local businesses that understand there may be opportunities to sell in China or sell in Eastern Europe or manufacture in those markets,” Terpsma explained. “What’s great is that we have a network of banks there, and we can and have placed our West Michigan business owners with our ABN Amro counterparts in China, Europe, Brazil and other parts of the world. Businesses find that valuable.”

Terpsma said he has no doubts that some companies seek out that kind of expertise and that the LaSalle team is capable of providing it. He added that LaSalle’s people have some advantages in that they have access to resources that many regional banks simply don’t have. 

Over the last five years, LaSalle’s West Michigan affiliate has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent in loans outstanding, which Terpsma says is pretty unusual given that the Michigan market is growing at less than 5 percent. Global connections have played a part in that growth, he said, along with a focus on commercial businesses.

“What we also find is that those business owners are seeing the value of having our wealth management area situated locally,” he added.

Regarding Comerica’s announcement that it’s moving its headquarters and 200 jobs from Detroit to Dallas, Terpsma said it’s disappointing to see any business pull up stakes and relocate, but the move does create some competitive opportunities for LaSalle.

Terpsma said LaSalle is here; it has roots and a major presence in Michigan, as well as the Midwest. It’s very committed to this state.

“To the extent that the marketplace perceives that Comerica is less comfortable with the state or is less comfortable with the auto industry,” he said, “I believe it plays well, given our commitment to the state and the auto industry.”    

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