By DAVID GREEN
Adrian isn’t quite home for Morenci native Jeff Vereecke, but it’s getting close. When he takes charge of the Bank of Lenawee’s nine offices next year, he’ll have the feeling that he’s coming home.
With the October acquisition of the Bank of Lenawee’s holdings by First Federal, Vereecke was promoted from executive vice president of First Federal’s retail banking to president of the bank’s Northern Market.
In addition to the Bank of Lenawee offices in Adrian, First Federal will assume ownership of offices in Tecumseh, Hudson, Morenci and Hillsdale. First Federal offices in Montpelier, Bryan and Wauseon, Ohio, are also part of the Northern Market. The Bank of Lenawee Waldron office will be closed when First Federal takes over in March.
Vereecke has made a career out of working with First Federal. Not long after earning a finance degree from Grand Valley State University, he took a job in the banking company’s credit department in 1984.
After 10 years in the lending department, he was promoted to senior vice president and chief lending officer. In 1998 he was promoted to executive vice president of retail banking.
“I’ve spent 23 years with First Federal,” Vereecke noted, “half of my life.”
Vereecke is the only First Federal employee from the main office heading north through the acquisition. He said Bank of Lenawee clients should expect the same customer service as before, along with some new products such as wealth management, insurance and investment options.
At the Morenci office, Sue Bachman will be returning from Adrian to serve as assistant manager of customer service.
“We’re glad to have her back in Morenci,” Vereecke.
Overall, he said, the biggest change customers should see is a new First Federal sign that will be erected for the March changeover.
At that time, First Federal will have 34 offices ranging from Tecumseh in the north to Lima in the south, and from Toledo west to Ft. Wayne.
“I am excited about returning to the Adrian area and working with the Bank of Lenawee staff as we prepare to integrate the Bank of Lenawee into the First Federal Bank network,” Vereecke stated in a press release. “I am impressed with the commitment to customer service the staff exhibits, and I look forward to continuing the tradition of local decision-making and community involvement that Bank of Lenawee has established in the region.”
Rick DeVries, current president and CEO of the Bank of Lenawee stated, “I am personally very pleased with Jeff's appointment as president of this market. He has strong ties to the area, and the background and experience to guide the bank into the next phase of development. I am convinced that Jeff’s leadership and commitment to true community banking will be beneficial to customers, employees and shareholders of the bank.”
Vereecke and wife, Karen (Deatrick), are the parents of seven children ranging in age from two to 22. The family will relocate in the Adrian area.