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Flint's Citizens Bank is being sold to Ohio bank

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There are concerns that Flint could lose a major corporate headquarters.

Flint-based Citizens Bank is being bought by an Ohio bank for nearly a billion dollars.

Citizens has been an important institution in Flint since the bank was founded in 1871.  Citizens Bank loaned General Motors founder William Durant money he needed to start his manufacturing career.

Citizens has bank branches in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. 

Citizens is the largest bank holding company headquartered in Michigan and is the 57th largest bank holding company headquartered in the United States.

It’s also a lynchpin in Flint’s downtown.

But there are questions now about whether Citizens Bank’s large Flint headquarters might be a casualty of its acquisition by Akron, Ohio based First Merit bank.

Ed Kurtz is Flint’s Emergency Financial Manager.  He’s worried Citizen’s new corporate owners will want to close its local headquarters.

“We’re concerned that they may move the headquarters to Ohio…..says Kurtz, “‘We’re concerned about what happens to the management staff here….what happens to the employees who are working in the city and paying city income taxes.” 

A First Merit spokesman says no decision is likely to be made about Citizen’s Flint headquarters until government regulators decide whether to approve the sale. That's expected next Spring.    He did not expect the any of Citizens’ bank branches would be affected by the sale, except that their name would change to First Merit bank.

Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will have approximately:

  • $24 billion in total assets
  • $15 billion in loans
  • $19 billion in deposits
  • 415 branches, 452 ATMs and more than 5,000 employees across the five contiguous states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.