Originally Published: July 20, 2016 in Crain’s Detroit Business By Tom Henderson
Bank of Ann Arbor to buy Bank of Birmingham
Deal opens up attractive Oakland County market
The acquisition will give the Bank of Ann Arbor about $2.5 billion in assets and assets under management, about 225 employees and eight branches, including one in Wayne County, in Plymouth.
The Bank of Birmingham, which was founded in 2006 as part of a local boom in community banking just before the recession hit, has about 40 employees, a single branch on Woodward Avenue, about $274 million in assets and $250 million in deposits.
Rob Farr, the president of the Bank of Birmingham, said he has known Tim Marshall, the Bank of Ann Arbor’s president and CEO, for six or seven years. He said the two began discussions in February that got serious in April.
Farr said he wanted to offer his customers a wider range of lending and wealth-management services, and that increasing costs of IT and regulatory compliance were becoming burdensome for a single-branch bank.
The Bank of Ann Arbor also has a highly regarded Technology Industry Group that has been active in funding Ann Arbor startups and growing technology companies, and Marshall said that group will be active, as well, with the growing tech community in Oakland County.
“Putting our two organizations together puts us in a nice position to compete with bigger banks in our market,” said Farr, who will remain after the deal closes as president of the Oakland County market.
“We weren’t looking for a transaction just to do a transaction. We were looking for a like-minded partner and found the perfect one,” said Marshall. “Oakland County is an excellent market, a growth-oriented market with terrific demographics.”
The Bank of Ann Arbor was founded in 1996. It expanded into Plymouth in 2010 when it bought the assets of New Liberty Bank after it was shut down by federal regulators.
Bank of Ann Arbor was advised by the investment banking firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.and the law firm Varnum LLP. Birmingham Bloomfield Bancshares was advised by the investment banking firm DPP & Partners and the law firm WarnerNorcross & Judd LLP.