North Shore Bank to continue Ozaukee County expansion

North Shore Bank believes that Ozaukee County is ripe for a community-based bank to expand into since the acquisition of Ozaukee Bank and Grafton State Bank (part of Merchants and Manufacturers Bancorp), which were acquired by Harris Bank earlier this year.

"As we looked at the Grafton-Cedarburg area, it had strong community based banks in Ozaukee and Grafton State banks," said Jim McKenna, president of North Shore Bank. "As we saw a very large, foreign owned mega bank coming into the marketplace, we saw opportunities for us."

In late February or early March, North Shore Bank expects to open its first branch in Ozaukee County, in Grafton at the intersection of Wisconsin and First avenues. The bank is now operating a small temporary branch in a nearby strip mall, McKenna said.

At its temporary location, the Grafton branch has already exceeded North Shore’s deposit expectations for three years, McKenna said. He declined to state the dollar amount, but said the bank raised $2 million on the first day of a weekend promotional event.

"And that was in the first half of the day," he said. "We’ve now raised a factor of many times that $2 million."

North Shore Bank is already planning its second Ozaukee County location, in a strip mall under construction on Port Washington Road in Mequon. The Mequon branch will open next summer, McKenna said.

"What drives this is given our historical roots on the north shore (of metro Milwaukee), this is a logical extension," he said. "We’ve noticed over the last few years that our customer base is migrating out further into Mequon and Cedarburg and Grafton."

North Shore Bank avoided subprime mortgages and has remained well capitalized despite economic conditions that are affecting other banks, McKenna said, which will allow it to continue its growth.

"As we look toward expansion, we’re not constrained," he said. "We believe in these times that there will be opportunities presented to us, both in de novo expansion and acquisition opportunities."

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