George Bailey, the fictional president of Bailey Building & Loan in the classic film It’s A Wonderful Life, made it through a banking crisis because of his strong ties to the community. The same can be said for many of the institutions that survived the global financial meltdown of 2008.
While Main Street Bank in Bingham Farms, with $75 million in assets, is relying on its close relationships with businesses and individuals to accelerate its growth, the financial center has set itself apart from the competition by dispensing with teller windows and other traditional offerings.
That’s a sharp break from the past. A century ago, most banks created elaborate interiors highlighted by fluted columns and marble floors to impress depositors — many of whom were illiterate. “If you didn’t know better, you’d assume we were a law firm or an accounting office,” says Jeffrey I. Kopelman, president and CEO of Main Street Bank.
Kopelman, who regularly meets with customers, believes the bank’s wealth of business experience makes a difference to customers. “We cater to small- and medium-sized companies, so it helps to have a solid business background in case a client needs assistance,” Kopelman says.
Co-founder and Chairman Joel Dorfman is a developer and the owner of a residential loft project in Ferndale; he operates Sun Dog Ventures, a company that charters a 76-foot-long sailing yacht in the Caribbean; and he raises show horses at Holly Ridge Farms in Holly. In addition, he owns North Star Media in Bloomfield Hills, which provides soundtracks for commercials, television shows, and movies.
Founded in 2005, Main Street Bank offers a wide range of familiar products, including safe deposit boxes, ATM and debit cards, online services, and credit cards. It also provides loans for residential, commercial, construction, and government clients.
“A large part of our growth is customer referrals,” says Bruce Rosenblat, executive vice president of marketing. He says the bank plans to grow its asset size to $300 million by 2015.
To reach that goal, the bank will expand its customer base while exploring acquisitions. Late last year, Main Street acquired the home lending division of Paramount Bank in Farmington Hills. “We’ll continue to look at opportunities for growth, but our main focus is listening to our customers and creating products to fit their needs,” Rosenblat says.