Paragon Poised To Expand Role

February 25, 2003
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HOLLAND — Moving to a new location near downtown Holland provides Paragon Bank & Trust a high-profile base from which to continue the strong growth rates of the past two years.

After pushing hard to increase the bank’s awareness in the market, Paragon Bank & Trust President and CEO Randy Smith sees more growth ahead with the new location on a well-traveled stretch of East Eighth Street, just east of the downtown central business district.

“We’ve grown quite significantly in the last two years and we anticipate that will continue with the new location and exposure,” Smith said. “Of course we want to further our impact in this market. It’s evident to us we’re just scratching the surface out there.”

Founded in 1990, Paragon Bank has billed itself as offering a high level of personal service and a boutique banking style that includes a courier service.

Stepped-up marketing efforts and becoming more visible and involved in the community enabled the bank to grow assets by more than 35 percent from the beginning of 2001 to the end of 2002, Smith said.

Assets now total about $105 million. Deposits and loans each total around $90 million, with more than 80 percent of the lending portfolio consisting of commercial loans to small businesses.

Paragon Bank ranked fifth in market share in Holland as of June 30, 2000, for deposit base, with 6.28 percent of the market, according to the most recent data available from the FDIC.

The Holland-area banking market has seen the names of top players such as FMB and Old Kent fade from the landscape in recent years through acquisitions that brought new players like Fifth Third Bank and Huntington Bank to town, as well as the emergence of small competitors such as Macatawa Bank and The Bank of Holland that were able to quickly gain strong market positions.

Paragon Bank, hoping to ride that trend of small bank success, relocated from the former Hover Boulevard location to the new $2.5 million, 15,000-square-foot office in January. The new location is at the “eastern gateway” to downtown Holland, and the far greater visibility it provides will help generate business, Smith said.

At the old location, “we had a challenge of people just knowing we were around,” he said.

“There’s a lot of exposure for us now as compared to where we were,” Smith said.

In addition to the visibility, the new site gives Paragon Bank a chance to offer on-site ATM and drive-through service and extend its hours.

As it pursues further growth in the business, Paragon Bank won’t look at additional locations in the area, Smith said. The courier service for business clients and Internet and telephone banking for retail customers will help to spur growth without the need for branch offices, he said.

“We have a philosophy that’s going well for us right now,” Smith said. “We just think we can continue that push with a single location.”

Paragon Bank & Trust is owned by Lansing-based Capitol Bancorp, a $2.4 billion holding company that grants its units autonomy through local boards of directors and decision-making powers. Capitol Bancorp’s other holdings in West Michigan include Grand Haven Bank, Kent Commerce Bank, Muskegon Commerce Bank and Portage Commerce Bank. 

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