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Tuesday, 28 February 2012 10:51

Grand River Bank taps veteran to head operations

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Pat Gill

GRANDVILLE — Pat Gill returns to the banking scene in West Michigan as Grand River Bank begins moving beyond its startup phase.

Gill, who led the former Byron Bank prior to its acquisition by Chemical Bank nearly two years ago, joined Grand River Bank on Feb. 1 as president and CEO.

He leads day-to-day operations of Grand River Bank, which opened nearly three years ago in Grandville and has since grown steadily, despite the tough financial times.

Gill was drawn to the position at Grand River by “the opportunity to make a difference and to add value,” he said.

“It’s an organization that has a lot of potential,” Gill said. “This organization is uniquely poised in a highly competitive market to do good things for all of its constituents.”

The top priority, as he settles into the position, is raising the awareness of Grand River Bank in the marketplace and “ensuring that we have a seat at the competitive table,” Gill said.

Holding that position as the economy improves, and driving growth amid tough competition, won’t mean changes in how Grand River approaches the market. The bank remains “prudent” in its underwriting standards for commercial lending.

“We’re certainly not interested in growing at the expense of asset quality,” Gill said. “We’re really prudent about the deals we take on.”

Gill previously ran the former Byron Bank and its parent company, Byron Center-based OAK Financial Corp., for eight years prior to the acquisition by Midland-based Chemical Financial Corp. in April 2010. He left Chemical Bank soon after the merger and connected with Grand River Bank late last year following the expiration of an 18-month non-compete clause in his severance agreement.

A 30-year banking veteran who’s worked in West Michigan for two decades, Gill assembled a management team at Byron that led the bank through a difficult period, restoring earnings and growth, when it was under increased regulatory scrutiny to improve operations in the wake of deep loan losses.

His “lengthy track record of success, strong team-building skills and knowledge of West Michigan make him well-qualified for this key leadership position,” said Robert Bilotti, chairman of Grand River Bank and its parent company, Grand River Commerce Inc.

“The bank is poised for its next phase of development,” Bilotti said. “With a passion for community banking, a thorough understanding of our market and a demonstrated commitment to relationship-building, Pat is uniquely positioned to help our bank capitalize upon our many opportunities.”

Gill succeeded David Blossey, Grand River’s first president and CEO who recently left the bank.

Grand River Bank opened in April 2009 and has grown steadily during a difficult economic period. The bank ended 2011 with assets of $79.5 million, according to a quarterly financial statement filed with the FDIC, up 53 percent from the $51.7 million in assets at the end of 2010.

The bank has yet to reach to reach profitability, though losses have declined.

Grand River Bank recorded a net loss of $577,000 for 2011. That compares to a net loss for the bank of $1.16 million in 2010 and $1.25 million in 2009.

New banks typically lose money the first two or three years of operations as they incur startup costs and build business.

Read 2916 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 August 2012 13:10

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