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Independent Bank looks to northern Michigan for growth years after branch sales

Michigan-based Independent Bank Corp. is looking to expand in northern Michigan with its purchase of TCSB Bancorp Inc. but is not considering further acquisitions, its CEO said on a conference call Dec. 5.

The acquisition, expected to close in the first half of 2018, comes about five years after Independent Bank Corp. sold 15 branches in the northeast part of the state.

Brad Kessel, the company's president and CEO, said the economic environment is much different today and that the northwest side of the state, where the Traverse City-based seller has five branches, is expected to grow much more rapidly.

He said TCSB is a "solid bank in a strong market" and that Independent Bank Corp. is not eyeing further acquisitions.

"If there are other opportunities where it all makes sense, we will look at those opportunities, but at this point, we are really focused on a smooth integration with Traverse City State Bank," he said.

Independent Bank Corp. is the parent company of Independent Bank, while Traverse City State Bank is part of TCSB Bancorp. The two companies announced the deal Dec. 4, but it still needs regulatory and shareholder approval.

Kessel also said Independent Bank's "small mortgage loan production office" in northern Michigan would be folded into TCSB facilities by the end of 2018.

Constance Deneweth, the current CEO of TCSB, will continue to oversee the northern Michigan market. She told analysts on the call the TCSB board had become "increasingly concerned" about costs of complying with regulations and other expenses and that the bank found a "strong community-minded partner" in Independent Bank Corp.