A look inside Level One's $67.8M merger with Ann Arbor State Bank

Acquisition expected to be complete in early 2020

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Level One Bank's president and CEO Patrick Fehring at the bank's headquarters in Farmington Hills on Aug. 16, 2019. (Credit: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR - Earlier this week, it was announced that Farmington Hills-based Level One Bankcorp will acquire Ann Arbor Bankcorp in a $67.8 million deal. 

Level One started in 2007 and operates 11 metro Detroit branches with 250 employees. 

Coming on the heels of its initial public offering in 2018, Level One sees the merger as an opportunity to expand its capital in the Ann Arbor market. Level One's president and chief executive officer, Patrick Fehring, said it's a market his bank has been watching for years.

"Ann Arbor is an area that we’ve had an interest in for some time," said Fehring. "Ann Arbor is a center of entrepreneurship and that really resonates with us. We’re entrepreneurs here, having started a bank ourselves. The economic activity there is just very vibrant. So, the people and the market are just a great situation."

Level One Bank's headquarters in Farmington Hills. (Credit: Meredith Bruckner)

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Fehring said a series of steps over the past year paved the way for Level One to acquire Ann Arbor State Bank. 

"About a year ago, we had a large group of residential mortgage originators join us and that was very successful over this past year," said Fehring. "The second step was: We announced a branch opening over on the west side of the city in February. So, we were well on our way to developing a presence and then this opportunity to get together with Ann Arbor State Bank came together a few months ago."

Once the merger is complete, the combined bank will have $1.8 billion in assets, $1.5 billion in deposits and $1.4 billion in loans. In addition to the new Ann Arbor branch, it will open a location in Rochester later this year.

Fehring said the appeal of Ann Arbor State Bank was its successful track record as a community bank.

"It’s a very strong bank, and it's very well positioned in the marketplace," he said. "Like Level One, Ann Arbor State Bank has a heritage of engagement in the community, and I think that’s something for us to build upon in a lot of sectors, whether it’s assisting with community-based initiatives for housing, credit availability, financial literacy and events sponsorship."

Credit: Meredith Bruckner

Fehring said Level One will bring its competitive services to Ann Arbor State Bank and its clients, who span both commercial and residential banking.

"On the commercial banking side, we have a wide array of treasured management products," he said. "We work a lot with other partners that help us extend credit whether it’s with MEDC and SPA. We have a lot of relationships there that we can bring to growing businesses.

"On the consumers' side, there’s technology, there’s expanded mortgage products, construction lending. We do a lot of construction and home building activity. So, there’s a lot of additional products and services that will be available to clients and residents in Ann Arbor."

For now, Ann Arbor State Bank Chief Executive Officer Peter Schork will stay onboard in a leadership position within the combined company. As for the bank's other employees, Fehring said, "We’re just getting to know the team over there. More announcements will be made soon."

The new Level One branch is slated to open on the west side in September.

To learn more about Level One Bank, visit www.levelonebank.com.

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