Bank Of Holland Opens GR Office

November 27, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Bank of Holland opened its first office in Grand Rapids Nov. 18 in the Riverfront Plaza building downtown.

The banking office grew out of a mortgage loan operation the bank established there in June, said Beth Williams, senior vice president and COO.  

“We’re really not a branch bank,” she said. “We consider it a separate office because it’s really a separate market.”

Philip DeVries, marketing manager and senior lender, heads the Grand Rapids operation.

He said the bank may do some things a little differently here than does its affiliate in Holland simply because it’s a different market.

The Bank of Holland was established in 1998 and has served the Holland community from its one location on Central Avenue in Holland. The bank is held by Lake Michigan Financial Corp., which also is the holding company of its sister bank, the Bank of Northern Michigan in Petosky.

The Bank of Holland deals with all of its business customers through a courier service that provides convenience to customers and eliminates the need to have a branch on every corner, Williams said. 

“Then we know every single customer we have, because we don’t have this huge branch system,” she added.

The bank will follow the same strategy in the Grand Rapids market.

“We feel there is a need for very personalized banking in Grand Rapids. We have a very personal touch,” Williams remarked.

“We look at this as an opportunity to do the same thing we’re doing in Holland with people who know Grand Rapids.”

DeVries and the five other bankers on staff are veterans of the Grand Rapids banking scene who formerly worked for Grand Bank.

Besides DeVries, the commercial lending division of the bank’s Grand Rapids office includes Betsy Haller, vice president and business banking officer, and Betty Huizenga, loan specialist and office manager. 

Daniel Cooper, vice president and residential mortgage manager, oversees the mortgage division locally. Linda McRoy serves as vice president and mortgage lender and Carol Schmeiser as mortgage operations supervisor.

DeVries said he prefers working for a private bank vs. a publicly traded bank.

“In a smaller bank, all the decisions really are local. It was a unique opportunity to be challenged again and start something from scratch,” he said.

He said the bank hopes to have a courier system up and running sometime next year and that it will add couriers as it builds its customer base.

The Riverfront Plaza location is temporary.

DeVries said the plan is to move the bank to a location that has more visibility in the market and is easily accessible to customers.

“Five years from now I’d like the Bank of Holland to be a strong, recognized name in the Grand Rapids area, know for its personal service and its quality of service,” DeVries said.

“We have the people here who are committed to that. With the support this bank has given us already since we’ve been here, I think that’s very attainable.”

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