Banking & Finance

CEO Introduces Chemical Bank to Talmer Customers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The signage on the 16 offices of Talmer Bank and Trust will change to Chemical Bank Nov. 14, the CEO of Chemical Bank, David B. Ramaker, said Tuesday night at the DeYor Center.

And more than the name will change as those served by Talmer become customers of Chemical Bank, a financial institution with more than $17 billion in assets and 255 offices in three states.

Talmer officially became part of Chemical Aug. 31 and, as Ramaker noted, is in “the last phase of the merger.” With the merger, Chemical became the largest bank headquartered in Michigan.

Ramaker and Mark Wenick, regional president, were hosts of the Chemical Bank reception held in the DeYor lobby for its best customers and community leaders.

Chemical Financial Corp., based in Midland, Mich. and parent of Chemical Bank, brings “enhanced wealth management services” to the Mahoning Valley, Wenick said, as well as a trust department.

Wenick, whose background lies in wealth management, will head the trust operations here as well, Ramaker said.

Wenick is looking to hire trust officers and Ramaker expects the department here to be in place in three to six months, the president, chairman and CEO of Chemical said.

Wenick is recruiting financial advisers, a portfolio manager and a wealth planner to complement the six on his private banking staff. He projects it to have a strength of 20 or so when it hits its stride, the Mahoning Valley regional president said.

Chemical will offer indirect auto lending, something Talmer did not, Ramaker said, news that auto dealers should welcome.

The merger also means that Chemical Bank can lend as much as $50 million to one borrower, Ramaker said, (although banks rarely, if ever, reach their lending capacity). Before the merger, both Talmer and Chemical had a limit of roughly $25 million each.

Wealth management is not only for the well-to-do, Wenick said. The department exists to help people increase the value of their estates and plan for retirement by offering mutual funds, annuities and brokerage accounts. This includes helping customers open and manage 401(k) accounts.

For individuals and families who would use Chemical’s trust services, the threshold is closer to $500,000, he said.

Because Ohio no longer imposes an estate tax (also known as “the death tax”) and the federal threshold is $5.5 million before an estate tax is levied, wealth management offers little in the way of tax planning, Wenick said.

As part of Chemical Bank, the Talmer employees participated in Chemical Cares Day, Oct. 10, for the first time, Wenick said. Most here worked with Second Harvest Food Bank/

Chemical Cares days began four years ago, Ramaker said, to give back to the communities the bank serves. Where Chemical, founded in 1917, had been open on Columbus Day, its leadership decided to close its offices and strongly encourage bank employees to volunteer in their communities on projects that range from repairing neglected properties and cleaning up debris to giving pedicures to invalids.

This year, 2,500 Chemical bankers worked on some 250 projects, Ramaker said.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.