Sometime in the future, GenoaBank may have to give some serious thought to changing its name.
The little community bank with big ambitions took a giant step Friday toward becoming a bigger player in the local market with the announcement it will spend $2.4 million on a new branch at 5501 Monroe St. in Sylvania Township — its first effort to move into western Lucas County.
“We want to be there. Strategically, it’s been in our plans to continue to grow. We want to be northwest Ohio’s premier community bank,” said Marty Sutter, GenoaBank president.
“It’s been on the planning horizon for us for some period of time, but the economic situation has slowed us down,” Mr. Sutter added. “We wanted to be up there a few years ago. We believe it’s time to get out there now and expand our market.”
GenoaBank already was doing business in the Sylvania area with business and home mortgage borrowers, he said. “If you look at the numbers, you will see we are usually one of the top 10 residential lenders in the area.”
GenoaBank has six locations: Its original location and headquarters at 801 Main St. in Genoa, and branches in Elmore, Millbury, Oregon, Rossford, and Maumee.
The five branches felt like a natural, progressive expansion for the independent Ottawa County bank, which was founded in 1902 and has assets of $269 million.
But the location at Monroe Street and Whiteford Road, the site of a former fire station, is a big departure from its previous expansions and likely gives the bank its most visible Toledo-area branch.
“We looked a lot [for a site]. The Monroe Street corridor is growing significantly and there’s a lot of infrastructure that has been changed and lot of activity just going on up there,” Mr. Sutter said. “The Sylvania Township trustees were helpful in planning this. We were also pleased to meet with people in the town of Sylvania. We just looked at this site and felt this was the best location,” he added.
Construction is expected to start in three weeks, with the branch to open in July. Plans call for three drive-thru lanes and an outdoor automated teller system.
At $2.4 million, the branch was pricey.
“That was for the land and the building, but most of it was for the land. The land price is pretty expensive around there,” Mr. Sutter said.
GenoaBank closed on the property Thursday and bought 1.5 acres, which includes the old Sylvania Township fire station land plus acreage owned by the adjacent ABC Warehouse store. The price paid for the land was not available.
The bank intends to build a new structure. The number of jobs planned has not been announced.
Ultimately, the bank president added, the branch likely will be the first stepping stone to more locations in the Sylvania area and western Lucas County.
“We feel it’s a great market over there. The demographics fit us,” Mr. Sutter said.
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