2017 was a busy year for Grand Rapids-based Lake Michigan Credit Union with the opening of new branches and mortgage offices, insurance agency acquisitions, and the pending deal for Encore Bank in Naples, Fla. Michigan’s largest credit union, LMCU has 42 branch locations, three of them in Florida, and total assets of $5.1 billion as of Sept. 30, up more than 9 percent from a year earlier. President and CEO Sandra Jelinski expects more growth in 2018 as the economy remains in good shape.
“We anticipate the continuation of a very strong economy in 2018. We’ve enjoyed a strong period of unprecedented growth and feel the economy is poised for continued growth, especially in the job market. Housing should remain very strong as demand still exceeds supply, so I think we’ll see more home construction. For LMCU, we’ll continue to grow our branch network and mortgage offices. In 2017, we opened a total of 16 new locations (with a) combination of branches, mortgage offices and insurance agencies. The growth we’ve had, with flat interest rates, is very unique. We’ve seen 10 years of steady growth and I don’t see things slowing, only growing. One contributor to that belief is that I feel inflation will stay low. The financial industry is over regulated and I think it’s a very safe and secure field that will continue to provide the capital to fuel economic growth. … My biggest concern is cybersecurity in general. There have been a number of significant security breaches at some well-known companies. Technology has such an important role in all of our lives, and there is an ongoing balance between security and making business easy for customers. We continually spend a significant amount of capital to protect our members. Banking is about trust and honesty, and protecting our members’ interests is a big part of that.”