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Business Observer Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019 3 weeks ago

Bank branch finds new life as a credit union

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Lake Michigan Credit Union is moving into a SunTrust office.

The surest sign yet that the banking industry is going through an upheaval amid a surge in consolidation? A SunTrust Bank office in Lee County is getting a fresh start … as a credit union branch.

A decade ago, SunTrust was a regional banking power on the west coast of Florida, both in commercial loans and personal banking. Credit unions were a minor part of the financial services landscape, with a few big players.

Now the SunTrust name is nearly extinct because of its merger with BB&T. (The BB&T name is going to go too, and the new moniker will be Truist.)

Credit unions, meanwhile, are growing rapidly in the region and in some well-documented cases are even buying banks. Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Lake Michigan Credit Union, for example, acquired Encore Bank of Naples in 2017, part of a plan to grow its Southwest Florida market share. With $6.56 billion in assets, Lake Michigan also now dwarfs more than a handful of community banks in Florida in size and leverage.

The credit union’s latest move is to renovate the former SunTrust bank branch at 530 Cape Coral Parkway.

Lake Michigan hired Fort Myers-based Vantage Construction Services for the project, according to a statement. The work, of the 4,400-square-foot office, includes some interior and exterior demolition, rough and finish carpentry, metal framing, new acoustic ceilings, modifications to plumbing and HVAC ductwork, carpet, tile, cabinetry and painting. The new credit union branch is scheduled for to open early next year. Vantage Construction has also done renovation work for Lake Michigan branches in Bonita Springs and Naples.

 

 

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