IONIA — Jose Infante, former president and CEO of Community Shores Bank Corp. of Muskegon, resigned from the company Tuesday, May 30, and joined Ionia-based Independent Bank Corp. yesterday as senior vice president of Independent Bank affiliate Independent Bank West Michigan. Infante is responsible for business development among both business and retail customers.
Infante was a member of the team that founded CommunityShores in 1999. He remains the third largest shareholder of the company. He told the Business Journal that he and the board of directors at publicly traded CommunityShores had differing opinions on which direction the company should take — philosophical differences, he said.
“For me, the best way to solve that was to find a way that I can deliver what I want to do. The opportunity is greater at Independent Bank because they are bigger and they have more products, so they can service customers better. Their size allows them to do bigger loans. Their technology and things like that, I think, make a difference. I think it’s a great partnership for me and for them.”
Independent Bank Corp. is a community bank with more than $3.4 billion in assets. It operates 111 banking and loan offices across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula through four state-chartered bank subsidiaries — Independent Bank, Independent Bank East Michigan, Independent Bank South Michigan and Independent Bank West Michigan. CommunityShores has $225 million in assets and serves businesses and consumers in Muskegon and Ottawa counties with three branch offices.
Dave Reglin, president and CEO of Independent Bank West Michigan, said Infante brings a lot to the company.
“He has an outstanding reputation, not just in Muskegon where he works, but in all of West Michigan. He’s also well known throughout the Michigan banking industry,” Reglin said. “He’s very community oriented; he serves on many boards. He’s just an extraordinary person.”
Having Infante on board gives Independent the opportunity to start doing full-service banking in the Muskegon market, Reglin said. He noted that Independent will immediately begin researching sites for a full-service banking office to complement the Independent loan office that’s already operating in Muskegon. Infante said the bank will also be looking for future branch opportunities in Muskegon.
“What’s appealing about Independent is that they’re willing to take the one office they have here and make it full service, and that they’re committed to putting brick and mortar in Muskegon,” Infante said. “It’s an opportunity to do what I like to do, which is serve the community and do it with a player that has a very good reputation for customer service. Muskegon is my home, and I want to stay here. I love this place. This is a resurging community. We have a very good economic condition here compared to the rest of the state. This is a great market, and competition is always good. I think Independent saw that as an opportunity, too.”
Following Infante’s departure, Community Shores Bank board of directors has named Heather D. Brolick, president of CommunityShores, as president and CEO. She has served as senior vice president of the corporation since 1998, as president and COO since December 2003, and as secretary of the corporation and the bank since 2000. Brolick indicated that the recent change in management is not connected to any deterioration in the financial condition or performance of CommunityShores and said that 2006 performance is in line with previous discussions and expectations for the year.