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Tuesday, 01 May 2012 22:15

Huntington Bank plans more than 80 branches statewide in Meijer stores in coming years

Written by  Tom Henderson / Crain's Detroit Business
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GRAND RAPIDS — Huntington National Bank will expand its presence in Michigan significantly by opening more than 80 branches inside Meijer Inc. stores across the state in the coming years.

Huntington announced the expansion plans this morning at a press conference in Grand Rapids at the Meijer store on 28th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue, where the bank plans to open an in-store location.

Grand Rapids-based Steelcase Inc. will design the in-store branches.

Huntington will open 20 in-store branches in the state this year. The bank expects eventually to add more than 500 jobs, about half in Southeast Michigan.

The first Meijer branch is scheduled to open May 17 in Bath, near Lansing. The deal will expand Huntington’s footprint into several new markets, including Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint, Jackson, Battle Creek, Gaylord and Cadillac.

Jim Dunlap, Huntington’s regional president for West Michigan, said the 10-year agreement with Meijer and and the partnership with Steelcase will help the partners deliver “unparalleled” banking, design and shopping experiences.

Most of the 80-some branches, which will be open for extended hours seven days a week, are expected to be open by 2016, although a few may not open until as late as 2019, bank officials said.

“It will be a new concept in Michigan to have seven-day-a-week banking,” Dunlap said. 

Huntington will eventually become Meijer’s banking partner in all of the Michigan locations where the in-store bank concept works, said Meijer President Mark Murray.

“Not every store can accommodate a bank. But any store that can accommodate a bank or a financial institution, it will be a Huntington over time,” Murray said.

The retailer has existing relationships with in-store banks that it will honor, but Murray said the goal is to eventually provide a “uniform experience” to Michigan customers with Huntington locations.

“We were not soliciting a proposal. Huntington came to us with this. The more we learned, the more impressed we were,” Murray said.

Steelcase President and CEO Jim Hackett said that while the company will provide furniture for the branches, the real reason for Steelcase to get involved in the partnership lies in its research around how people work. In the case of the bank branches, he said the company designed the space with Huntington’s customers and employees in mind and made sure to be mindful of how they interact in-person and with technology.

“This is more about design than any one specific piece of furniture,” Hackett said.

In-store banking locations are not new to Huntington, said Brian Brumley, senior VP and Michigan in-store banking director, noting the company works with Giant Eagle stores in the Ohio market.

The deal with Meijer follows the news March 30 that the bank’s parent company, Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares Inc. (Nasdaq: HBAN), had bought the 15 branches and $818.2 million in assets of Dearborn-based Fidelity Bank after state and federal regulators shut it down.

The addition of the Fidelity branches and the new Meijer branches will jump Huntington in the rankings both in metro Detroit and the state. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as of last June 30, the latest date for which information is available, Huntington had the third highest market share in the Grand Rapids area with 10.48 percent with about $1.4 billion in deposits from 22 branches. Across West Michigan, including Allegan, Berrien, Ionia, Kent, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and Ottawa counties, Huntington had 48 branches and more than $2.2 billion in deposits.

Statewide, Huntington had the sixth highest market share, 4.51 percent, with $7.1 billion in assets from 129 branches. The bank ranked eighth by number of branches statewide. Chase Bank is No. 1 in the state with 306 branches.

“Every promise and expectation has been exceeded,” said Mike Fezzey, president of Huntington’s eastern Michigan region, referring to promises made to him by Stephen Steinour, Huntington Bancshares’ chairman, president and CEO, when he was recruiting Fezzey to the bank.

Before joining Huntington in January 2011, Fezzey had been the longtime president and general manager of WJR AM 760.

“I think it’s just wonderful to be part of this growing company and to see the support by the board and by management to grow in Michigan,” he said.

Last year at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Huntington announced a commitment of $2 billion in lending for small businesses in the state. MiBiz recently reported the bank had surpassed the $1 billion mark toward that goal, lending to nearly 2,000 businesses split about evenly over West Michigan and eastern Michigan. Recently, Huntington announced a commitment of $100 million in lending for affordable housing.

More state and Southeast Michigan business news from Crain’s Detroit Business can be founding at www.crainsdetroit.com/crainsmichiganbusiness. MiBiz Managing Editor Joe Boomgaard provided additional reporting.

Read 3137 times Last modified on Friday, 03 August 2012 18:48

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