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Published: Wednesday, 3/8/2006

2 new banks on way to metro area

BY HOMER BRICKEY
BLADE SENIOR BUSINESS WRITER

Two new banks are coming to metro Toledo, one a start-up from three former Fifth Third Bank executives, the other an office in Monclova Township that will be affiliated with a bank in Lansing, Mich.

The three Fifth Third executives who retired or resigned in the last two weeks said yesterday they plan to launch a bank that will specialize in private banking and commercial lending.

The principals are Michael Miller, 48; Michael White, 57, and Lawrence Boyer, 57.

"We just think there's an opportunity," said Mr. Miller, who is to be chairman and chief executive officer of the new bank. He talked about having a stronger service approach than existing banks.

They have a consultant working on a name and said they hope to pinpoint a site in Toledo or a suburb within a few weeks, probably along U.S. 23 and I-475.

They expect to raise $15 million to $25 million in capital in coming months and to open in March, 2007.

Dunn Dunn
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Meanwhile, H. Lee Dunn, Jr., who led the local Charter One branches and more recently Genoa Savings and Loan Co., is to be president of the Bank of Maumee.

He hopes to secure about $10 million in investor capital by mid-year to open at 3425 Briarfield Blvd., Monclova Township. It will be affiliated with Capitol Bancorp, of Lansing, but will be a standalone facility, not a branch.

The metro area seems to have plenty of banks, but competitors said they welcomed the new entries.

"One of the reasons we came in there is we felt there's an opportunity for a community bank," said William Small, chairman and CEO of First Defiance Financial Corp.

"It's not projected to be a strong growth market, but it's viable for community banks."

However, he added, "There's an awful lot of competition out there."

Rick Brunner, president and CEO of Toledo's Signature Bank, which started four years ago, said, "Competition is good. There are other communities our size that have several local banks. Our plan is to continue to focus on our niche, and provide a high level of personalized services."

The metro area has major bank presences in Fifth Third, KeyBank, National City, Huntington, and Charter One, and several small institutions.

Mr. Miller, the former Fifth Third executive, said his partners in the new bank couldn't do much toward the new bank until they left their employer.

He resigned as executive vice president; Mr. Boyer retired as senior vice president for commercial real estate; and Mr. White took early retirement as senior credit officer.

Mr. Boyer is to be executive vice president and Mr. White president and chief operating officer of the new institution.

"There was no animosity," said Mr. Miller, who is president of Toledo Mud Hens Baseball Club Inc. and former president of Inverness Club.

A spokesman for Fifth Third said that bank had no comment on the startup.

The founders are operating for now out of offices at Spartan Chemical Co. in Maumee; that company's president and chairman, Stephen Swigart, is an investor in and a board member of the new bank.

The principals said at least four other board members will be named soon. They are being advised by the downtown law firm Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick and a bank consulting firm, Austin Associates LLC, of Sylvania Township.

"There is room for a bank, or any institution, that can deliver serves more effectively," said Donald Kincade, president of FirstMerit Corp.'s Toledo branch. "That's why we opened a branch here [two years ago]. We've been pleased."

Mr. Kincade, a former president of Fifth Third in this region, said, "I have nothing but good to say about those three guys."

Contact Homer Brickey at:

homerbrickey@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.



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