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Arbor Financial in Mich. adds to presence in Grand Rapids

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Arbor Financial Credit Union in Kalamazoo, Mich., is broadening its reach by opening its second location in the Grand Rapids area in six months.

Grand Rapids is about 50 miles north of the Arbor Financial’s headquarters.

“As we indicated last year, we have a strong commitment to this market and are quickly expanding our presence in this community,” President and CEO Julie Blitchok said in a press release. “We happen to be celebrating our 85th anniversary this year, and we believe that there is no better way to celebrate our success than to focus on helping more Michigan residents and business owners achieve their own financial success. This expansion gives us the opportunity to help Grand Rapids-area residents get more from their money through better rates and a higher level of service.”

Arbor Financial’s move is the latest sign that the Grand Rapids region continues to be a hotbed of credit union expansion. For instance, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union has branched out into the Western Michigan market in recent years.

The city continues to see strong membership growth. Credit unions headquartered in Grand Rapids saw 5.6% member growth during the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2019, the second-highest membership growth rate in the state, according to the Michigan Credit Union League. Loans during that time grew by 5.1%. Unemployment in the city stood at just 2.8% at the close of Q3, the lowest rate in the state, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and MCUL.

Arbor Financial Credit Union wrapped up 2019 with net income of more than $5.7 million, down 1.5% from 2018. Membership was up 5.6% last year while loan balances shot up 15%, thanks to a significant lift in mortgages and commercial lending. Noninterest expenses were up by 19% last year, including a 27% increase in compensation and benefits costs, along with a 24% uptick in office expenses.

Anyone who lives, works or worships in Michigan is eligible to join the credit union, according to its website.

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