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Business Observer Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2021 1 year ago

Midwest credit union continues promised expansion into Florida

Lake Michigan Credit Union buys Pilot Bank helping keep CEO plan to make Florida its "second home."

Five years after saying Southwest Florida was going to be its second home, Lake Michigan Credit Union has bought another bank in the area.

This time the Grand Rapids-based financial institution picked up Tampa-based Pilot Banchsares, the parent company of Pilot Bank and the National Aircraft Finance Co.

Shareholders will get $6.25 in cash for each share in the all-cash transaction.

The addition of Pilot to its portfolio increases the Lake Michigan Credit Union’s footprint in Florida to 19 branches and its total assets in the state to $1.7 billion, according to a statement. Between the two states, the credit union, which was founded as a credit union for teachers in 1933, has 59 branches, 500,000 members and $10.4 billion in assets.

Lake Michigan’s President and CEO Sandra Jelinski says in a statement that the deal is “another step in our plan to enhance our member value and experience” for customers living or vacationing in Florida.

In 2016, Jelinski told the Business Observer that “We want this to be our second home.” At that time, Lake Michigan, which had just opened a branch in Bonita Springs, its first in Florida, had 41 branches and $4.3 billion in assets.

The sale is expected close late this year and still needs the approval of shareholders. When complete, Roy Hellwege, Pilot’s chairman and CEO, will join Lake Michigan as president for Central Florida. 

Pilot, which along with offering traditional commercial and personal loans and accounts finances general aviation, has about $656 million in assets. It was chartered in 1987 and operates six branches in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Lakeland.

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