Bank acquisition complete

May 24, 2010
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Chemical Financial Co., holding company for Chemical Bank, has 2,703,009 shares of outstanding common stock. Last month, 71 percent of those share holders voted on an acquisition of O.A.K. Financial Corp., the holding company for Byron Bank, in an all-stock transaction. When the votes came in, 96 percent had voted in favor of the acquisition.

“From our perspective, we believe that the opportunity to add the strength of our team and the reputation of our company to the capital position and capacity of a first-class institution like Chemical will allow us to take advantage of what we think are very significant opportunities in this market,” said Pat Gill, CEO of Byron Bank.

“We think it’s strategically a good fit, but we also think, from a timing standpoint and a general opportunity standpoint, it’s a transaction that is very advisable for all parties.”

The fixed-exchange transaction is worth about $83.9 million and is scheduled to close April 30. The acquisition adds 14 West Michigan branches to Chemical Bank and approximately $438 million in the bank’s core deposit base. The addition will move Chemical Bank from the 16th largest institution in the Grand Rapids area to sixth.

“With our ability to go from 16th in the marketplace to sixth — it’s a home run from that perspective. We think we can truly bring to bear a strong team with financial background to the market and take advantage of a lot of opportunities.”

After closing the deal, the next steps will be to synchronize all of the two institutions’ data as well as signage and branding. Staff from both banks have already started working together, signage is being turned over, and on July 24, Byron Bank, now a subsidiary of Chemical Financial Co., will officially slide under the Chemical Bank name.

The major benefits for consumers will be the expanded locations, but the amount of lenders will also double. Combined, the new Chemical Bank will staff 24 lenders.

“We’re going to be able to expand our lending capabilities,” said Lynn Kerber, president of the West Region. “We really have a lot of lending power in the market.”

Kerber stressed that the biggest outcome of the merger will be additional customer service.

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