We Want Your Feedback!


Your thoughts and insight are important to all of us here at Great Lakes Banker. After all, we are YOUR regional banking magazine. So, please click here to take our survey. Thanks!


From the Publisher's Page


Great Lakes Banker’s Trends in 2017


August is our Snapshots and Trends issue. It has been since the days of Michigan Banker and it’s always been one of our top issues. This year, we have the good people at Boenning and Scattergood to thank for the regional trends report. You’ll find their report useful and informative, not to mention a great reference for the year to come.


That got me thinking. Since Great Lakes Banker is the only regional magazine devoted to the banks and bankers of the Great Lakes region, you might be interested in the magazine’s trends. Since our expansion into the region, our readership has grown dramatically, by over 200%. Our advertising base has likewise grown. These are our trends, and we are working hard to keep them growing. That’s what makes events like the ICBM’s Annual Convention (see Page 60) and next month’s CBM Annual Convention (see Page 56) such great opportunities.


If you’ve been reading our cover stories, our recent Plante Moran story, for example, you know that in the banking industry relationships can mean everything. Our success is built as much on handshakes and relationships as anything else; relationships with our advertisers, relationships with our readers.

We know you’ll enjoy this issue, and we’re looking forward over the next few months to meeting as many of you as we can at the various conventions and conferences coming up throughout the region.


Best Regards,





Greg O’Neil

Publisher, Great Lakes Banker


The September 2017 Issue Coming Soon to a

Mailbox Near You!!!

On the Cover of Great Lakes Banker

United Bankers’ Bank and Great Lakes Bankers’ Bank:

A Successful Merger Based on a

Commitment to Community Banking


For United Bankers’ Bank (UBB), “First for Your Success” is not just a catchy tagline; it is their promise and a guiding principle that establishes the success of each and every customer as its number one priority. This

mantra represents the foundation of all the company has stood for since its inception over 40 years ago. So when Great Lakes Bankers Bank (GLBB) began its search for a customer service centered partner that would ensure the continued success of their community bank customers, UBB was the natural choice.

“Our two organizations are a great match, philosophically, structurally and culturally,”

said Bill Rosacker, President and CEO of UBB.


Two Pioneering Institutions with a Shared

Vision for the Future

UBB and GLBB were founded in 1975 and 1985 respectively, by community bankers who demanded a correspondent partner that would always put their best interests first and never compete for their business.


GLBB knew that in order to meet the expanding needs of its customers it needed to expand and increase its economies of scale. Observing the industry trends and merger and acquisition activity over the past ten years, UBB identified that competition was continually increasing for a consistently shrinking pool of customers.


As a result, the average bank size was increasing and the needs of community banks were becoming more sophisticated. UBB knew it had to grow, and merging with another bankers’ bank was the most practical strategy.


Full Service Correspondent Partner

In February of 2016, a public announcement was made stating that UBB and GLBB would seek to merge their companies to create a stronger organization with new products and services available to customers of both institutions. Former GLBB customers would

be able to utilize UBB’s Investment sales and asset liability management services in addition to community bank specific consulting services like human resource management, bank valuation advisory services, and bond portfolio management. Likewise, UBB would now have the opportunity to expand its compliance services consultancy and offer a Loan Review service previously provided by Great Lakes Bankers Bank. “I can utilize

services that I didn’t have access to before, or


I was getting from somebody that was competing with me,” explained Dean Miller, President and CEO of First National Bank in Bellevue, Ohio, former member of the GLBB Board of Directors, and current member of

the UBB Board of Directors. “UBB provides asset liability management services, investment and bond accounting services, and they even have a human resources consulting arm. To be able to have that level

expertise in-house is pretty hard to find, where we’re paying an attorney as needed, UBB can provide this much more conveniently and at a reasonable cost.”


Customers First

According to Chris Knight, Correspondent Banker and now VP, Regional Sales Manager, “Our sole purpose as a bankers’ bank is to support community banking; that’s what we do.” The strong relationships built with GLBB

Correspondent Bankers like Chris generated a trust that they were leaving their customers in good hands with UBB, which runs on the philosophy that no technology will ever replace a solid relationship built on face-to-face discussions and a firm handshake. Craig Lawhead, President and CEO of Killbuck Savings Bank expressed his openness to the

merger by saying, “Basically, we feel that GLBB felt strongly about merging, and that we would be in good hands.” Killbuck was the first Ohio bank to transition its correspondent accounts to UBB. “If you like the service you received with GLBB, you will be happy with UBB,” he added.


Consistent, Detailed, Communication

Becomes a Key Factor

After news of the merger was made public, the following months were a whirlwind of approvals, decisions on processes and operations, and introductions to both GLBB employees and customers. As June

approached, ongoing weekly meetings kept everyone well informed of any developments. According to Rosacker, “It wasn’t one person conveying a message to everybody; it was everybody from both organizations hearing the same message at the same time.” By July, the decision was made to retain all of the GLBB employees from operations, lending and consulting services, as well as the two Correspondent Banking Officers, Chris Knight and Bob McGovern.


“The people that we used to work with at Great Lakes Bankers Bank are the people

we’re working with today at United Bankers’ Bank,” said Gene Lovell, President and Executive Officer of First State Bank located in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. “That trust that has developed over the years with the people at Great Lakes Bankers Bank - we’re still able to enjoy today with United Bankers’ Bank. That is

important. We appreciate that.”


The official merger date was July 22, 2016, but the transition process was far from completed. In an effort to introduce the GLBB

customers to UBB, personally answer questions regarding the merger and to meet as many customers as possible, five regional welcome meetings were held throughout

the state of Ohio in Columbus, Dayton, Findlay, Akron and Athens along with two Michigan meetings in Traverse City and East Lansing. With the Ohio/Michigan calling team of Chris Knight, Bob McGovern, Elizabeth

Woodruff, Scott Burke, and Pat Burnette in attendance, UBB was able to share


Story continues here.

Great Lakes Banker is published by Michigan Banker LLC © 2016