Allendale had one bank -- FMB, First Michigan Bank, in a pretty little building nestled between some trees on Lake Michigan Drive. We rented half a duplex on Henry Street and if I walked through the storage field of West Shore Services, I could get there in about four minutes.
Then they decided to build a new bank by the grocery store, and that was okay. Then they got sucked up in a flurry of bank buying by Huntington Bank. Did not hear good things about the new folks and a lot of locals grumbled about pulling out of the local Allendale bank.
Chain Of Events
Some FMB people took generous buyouts by Huntington, then turned around and founded a new bank in Holland -- Macatawa Bank. Macatawa opened a branch in Allendale, initially in a tiny storefront next to the Allendale Post Office, and staffed it with ex-FMB people. Many locals went with the people they knew, not the new guys who'd bought their old bank. As Macatawa built a new bank building, another local bank was making moves into Huntington territory, Byron Center Bank. They built on the "wrong" side of the street, the side of Lake Michigan Drive that had no retail, but they did build big enough to include store rental fronts in their building.
Meanwhile, Grand Rapids' Old Kent Bank was bought up by Fifth Third Bank, and while there wasn't one of those in Allendale, one of Fifth Third's ATMs showed up in the rebuild of the student union at GVSU. And upstart Flagstar Bank opened seven miles away in Standale.
First of America, whom we'd dealt with in the U.P. in Houghton, was bought by National City. Nat City put up a bank in Allendale in Fall/Winter 2008 in the stretch of new development east of town and west of GVSU. Just about the time they opened, PNC bought National City. They still put up National City signs. Guess they'd already paid for them and had to put up something. (grin) And now, a quarter mile east of Nat City, a Lake Shore Credit Union is going up.
Of course, the grocery store switched sides of the street the other year and the old grocery store plaza, which had just expanded in new store fronts, has a lot of vacancies. And the old post office closed today, the new one is in the complex with the new grocery store. So everything is changing in Allendale.
All told that makes at least five new banks in Allendale Township itself, plus another three new banks in Standale since we moved here. And about half of this has been going on during the current economy. Now Allendale is growing, which is a very good thing in Michigan, and I've heard business people say that a recession is a perfect time to expand territory. But where the hell is all this money coming from? (grin)