New era as Michigan credit union will acquire Marine Bank


It’s the end of an era as Marine Bank and Trust, the island’s only remaining local community bank, is being purchased in an all-cash transaction by Michigan’s ELGA Credit Union.

Marine Bank, founded by a group of Vero investors led by the late George Slater, opened its doors on Beachland Boulevard in 1997, three years after The Beach Bank, at the corner of Beachland and A1A, was acquired by Northern Trust.

After barely surviving the economic downturn of the late 2000s, Marine Bank sold a major stake to out-of-town investor Kenneth Lehman as part of a 2014 recapitalization that subsequently enabled the bank, under the leadership of President Bill Penney, to prosper and expand its service area south into St. Lucie County and north into Brevard County.

Penney will continue as president, and promised that Marine Bank customers will still feel that hometown welcome, all 70 employees will keep their jobs and the seven current bank locations will remain open.

But ELGA and its cash infusion will bring the ability to help more low-income residents get loans, and small businesses get needed financing for start-ups and expansions, he said.

The transaction was unanimously approved by the directors of both entities, and, pending approval by regulators, is expected to close in early 2025. A new name for the joint entity will be created in the coming months.

The current board of directors of Marine – which along with other investors stands to realize a major profit from the sale at a price of $43.75 per Marine Bancorp of Florida share – will transition into more of an advisory capacity, Penney said.

Current employees will be eligible for improved benefits, including better family health insurance plans and matching 401(k) contributions that ELGA provides its employees, he said.

For ELGA, based in Grand Blanc, Michigan, and with approximately $1.5 billion in assets and nearly 100,000 members, the deal adds seven Florida Marine Bank locations – two banking centers in Vero Beach, one banking center each in Fort Pierce, Sebastian and Melbourne, and loan offices in Vero Beach and Port St. Lucie – and diversifies ELGA’s offerings to include commercial banking and financial management.

Once the transaction is complete, the new entity will have total assets of approximately $2.2 billion, serving more than 105,000 members at 18 branches in Michigan and Florida.

“We are in amazing markets with tremendous opportunities to expand,” Penney said. “Our goal is to bring more of our very personalized banking services to communities on the Treasure and Space coast.”

Photos by Joshua Kodis

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