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DETROIT – The local bank market is doing fabulously, and is about to get overloaded due to a pending merger between Standard Federal Bank and Michigan National Bank, says Clarkston Bank president David Harrison.He ownsClarkston State Bank, a subsidiary of Clarkston Financial Corp., and a chain of general service banks headquartered in Clarkston. He has built the business up from the ground, and is continuing on his goal to open a bank a year in the Southeast Michigan area.

Harrison stumbled in his goal this year, his second year of operations, by not opening a branch, he says. The company opened two branches in 1998, one at the headquarters on Main Street in Clarkston. The second opening was a banking center in Independence Township, where Harrison paid $154,000 for the fixed assets and $1.7 million for the deposits. Both are in leased space, he says.

“It’s a lot cheaper to buy a currently-run bank, the facility is already there,” he notes. However, this year he missed his goal of opening a branch. He also lost $660,000 his first year of operations, but has brought the books back to the red with a $450,000 profit this year.

To compensate for not opening a branch this year, he’s leasing a new one and building one in 2001, both with drive-through tellers.One will open in May, where Harrison’s paying $170,000 for one unit in an office condominium complex on M-59 in Waterford. The closing date is set in January.His fourth new bank will be constructed in Independence Township, and a currently undisclosed location, he says. “We’ll definitely keep going, opening one per year, one in 2002 and one in 2003. Then we’re going to sit back, take a look at the market, and do our next strategic plan,” Harrison predicts.

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