ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. of Sparta in northwest Michigan and Lapeer’s County Bank Corp. announced Monday that they were joining forces in a merger of equals to create a bank holding company with $1.3 billion in assets, the combination will be the 12th largest in the state.
Once the transaction closes in the second half of 2019, the combination will have 28 offices in west and southeast Michigan and include the ChoiceOne Bank and Lakestone Bank and Trust brands, which are expected to consolidate in the second quarter of 2020.
“I am extremely proud to lead these two companies into our next phase of growth,” says Paul Johnson, chairman of ChoiceOne. “These two organizations are very similar in their steady growth over the last 100 years, and yet they both bring unique qualities to the table. Our combined organization will allow us to expand our collective expertise into the communities we serve with enhanced capacity to invest further into technology, products and services as well as our local support.”
Bruce Cady, chairman and CEO of County Bank Corp., says, “The culture of a partner was of the utmost importance when we considered this transaction. Lakestone’s and ChoiceOne’s cultures and values are very similar. We are two strong, growing institutions with a powerful commitment to serve our customers and give back to our communities. Leveraging these strengths in this merger, as well as our complementary products and leading market positions, will clearly position us as one of the finest community banks in Michigan.”
The combined bank holding company will be headquartered in Sparta, with the combined company’s senior leadership and operations based in both Sparta and Lapeer. The combined company will be led by Johnson as chairman of the board, Cady as vice chairman of the board, ChoiceOne’s Kelly Potes as CEO, and Lakestone’s Michael Burke as president.
The new company’s board of directors will be comprised of 14 directors, consisting of seven directors designated by ChoiceOne and seven directors designated by County Bank Corp.