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Posted on Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Michigan's Hantz Bank opens branch at former credit union in Ann Arbor

By Julie Edgar

Michigan-based Hantz Bank opened its third branch southeast Michigan at a former credit union building in northern Ann Arbor.

The bank is a division of Southfield-based Hantz Group Inc., which bought a 22,000-square-foot building at 2400 Green Road formerly owned by Ann Arbor-based Midwest Financial Credit Union, which was acquired by Dearborn-based DFCU Financial earlier this year. Hantz shifted its Ann Arbor office from a building near Briarwood Mall to the Green Road facility.

Hantz Group, founded and operated by John Hantz, offers casualty insurance policies, financial planning services, health benefit and retirement plans for companies, estate planning and tax services.


HantzGroup Inc. bought the 22,000-square-foot former Midwest Financial Credit Union building on Green Road. The company moved its Ann Arbor operations to the building and one of its divisions, Hantz Bank, opened a branch there.

Jeff Sainlar |

With the bank inside, it's a "one-stop shop" that allows individuals and small businesses to apply for loans, open a checking account, get retirement advice and do their taxes, said bank President David Lamb.

With the new bank branch, Hantz employs 50 workers at the Ann Arbor location, including five newly hired by Hantz Bank.

Lamb agreed that "micro banks" like Hantz are positioned well in the marketplace, given the general mood of distrust of mammoth financial institutions.

"The last meltdown was an eye opener for a lot of businesspeople about their actual relationship with banks," he said. "I think they thought there was more of a relationship when things were super uncertain. That has really benefited all the small banks. We're selling a service, you can talk to us. You don't have to call Cincinnati or Chicago. People are receptive to that.''

When John Hantz, who is also CEO of Hantz Farms LLC, which aims to create the world's largest urban farm in Detroit, decided to enter the banking sphere, "we bought the smallest bank we could," Lamb said, referring to a bank in Davison, Mich.

"We spent the first year — from May 2010 to April 2011 — basically making sure the bank was stabilized, working on problem loans it had," he said.

Lamb said one of Hantz Bank's priorities will be providing small business loans and working with small business customers.

"That is our core philosophy: Not only can we establish a relationship with them, but help them on other aspects like personal assets. We're really a one-stop shop for small businesses,'' Lamb said.

Lamb started Hantz Bank in the former Davison State Bank in northern Oakland County. Branches are planned in Southfield, Taylor, Tecumseh, Romeo and, eventually, Detroit. Hantz Group has 18 operations in Michigan — and Lamb says bank branches will ultimately collocate in 10 of them.

Hantz Bank has been able to grow fast because it moves into markets already staked out by the Hantz Group. The customer base is already there.

"We know we have 100 people a week who are coming in to talk about finances. A lot of banks don't get that much traffic each week," Lamb said. Plus, it's cheaper to rent space within a larger space, he said.

Ann Arbor is key to the company's growth because its economy is relatively vibrant, the entrepreneurial spirit is robust, and the Hantz Group has a solid clientele in the area, Lamb said.

The bank is also offering a special checking account for Ann Arbor residents that doesn't require a minimum balance and allows the use of up two ATMs per month at no charge, said Sherry Lawfield, vice president of retail operations.

Julie Edgar is a freelance writer for



Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

I think the sign is rather attractive myself. I plan to move my money away from one of the big impersonal banks to Hantz. They already do a fantastic job of my personal planning and my insurance costs have never been lower. Everyone I refer to them has saved money and thanked me. Keep up the great work!


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

Julie, Please explain what happened to the credit union.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

You are right, Ypsi, I wasn't careful about the name. And yes, I know we (prior Midwest customers) are supposed to be happy about how much better DFCU is. But DFCU has onerous hurdles to do simple things. In an age when an iPhone picture of your check counts as a deposit to Citibank, filling out multiple lines on a paper slip to deposit money is, frankly, ridiculous. They also have 7-business day waits for local checks to clear. Again, ridiculous in this day and age, and again designed to protect the credit union, not me. I guess I'm not surprised DFCU has a higher rating, but it comes at a cost of convenience to their customers.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

dotdash, A nitpick: the credit union's name was Midwest Financial Credit Union. (It wasn't a "federal" credit union.) Second, if the biggest complaint you have about DFCU is that you now have to fill out deposit slips, then DFCU is doing alright. Filling out a deposit slip is a simple cash control/audit trail measure. It's done for your safety. MFCU had a 3-star Bauer rating; DFCU has a 5-star rating. Midwest was running a large ($1M+ per-quarter for about a year and a half) deficit. DFCU operates in the black. Plainly put, DFCU is a much better managed credit union.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

Midwest Federal was bought/taken over by DFCU. Too bad, because DFCU is based in Dearborn and technologically speaking, still in the dark ages. You have to fill out paper slips by hand to deposit checks or take out money, if you can believe it. DFCU then closed that Midwest Federal branch on Green St., retaining branches on Carpenter Road and Briarwood.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

Just wish the sign they put up on Green Road was more attractive. It's one big, ugly, glaring thing...

Vivienne Armentrout

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

I wondered about the Hantz farm connection too (and was glad the article explained that). Side note: our former MSU agricultural agent, Mike Score, now works for Hantz Farms, with the title of President.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

I wondered if Hantz Bank was the same organization as Hantz Farms. I see that it is. I applaud their efforts to create something good for the people of Detroit. Maybe I will consider moving my accounts from my huge non-personal bank to Hantz. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> .