Fennville Mayor to file complaint against Chemical Bank

The mayor of Fennville wants to keep the bank there.

FENNVILLE, MICH. - A local mayor wants to stop a business in his community from closing down. Last week it was that confirmed three different Chemical Bank branches would be closing here in West Michigan, including the location in Fennville. 

The Mayor said in his 30 years living in this town, Fennvile has always had a bank. But if Chemical Bank closes, that won't be the case.

"I wasn't too happy with it because I do my banking here," Chemical Bank customer Tom Beck, said as he recalled hearing about the closure. "For them to pack up and leave, it just doesn't make any sense."

The Chemical Bank in Fennville is set to close its doors on Dec. 15, but it won't happen without a fight.

"Losing a business is the worst thing that can happen to any business community," Mayor Tom Pantelleria, said. "It sends a bad signal to the current businesses owners and to any future investors because it suggests what's wrong with the business environment in Fennville."

Mayor Tom Pantelleria met with Chemical Bank officials on Monday. He was told the lack of foot traffic and move towards online banking led to the consolidation.

"We still have a lot of citizens and local business people who prefer to go into a business," he said.

That's what Pantelleria is hoping to keep. The Mayor is planning to file a complaint with the Federal Reserve board against Chemical Bank.

He's hoping to keep the only bank left in town open.

"We're going to cite that maybe they're in violation of the Community Reinvestment Act where it kind of states that communities have a right to have a financial institution in their community," he said.

"Also it's going to cite in their deed they're going to have restrictions to the deeds to prevent any other financial organizations moving in and taking over their building. So we would like to, if indeed I can't stop them from leaving, I want the door open and have someone take their place."

Chemical Bank CFO Dennis Klaeser responded to the potential complaint saying in part, "We are aware of it and are sensitive to the concerns. We're continuing to have dialogue, if there are things to do to continue to serve the city."

Two other West Michigan Chemical Bank's have or will close their doors: 

  • The Main Street branch in Zeeland has been consolidated to the Riley Street Branch.
  • The South Washington Avenue branch in Holland will be consolidated into the downtown branch.

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