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Community banks are driving the cornerstone of the Upper Peninsula Economy

mBank CEO talks about the importance of community banking

MANISTIQUE, Michigan (January 28, 2019) — If you ever do business with community banks, you may notice something different about them. Tellers greet you by name. Loan officers are familiar with your local company — in fact, they might even be your customers. That personal touch and feeling of comfort is a hallmark of community banks across the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) and beyond. However, they offer more than a warm welcome. Community banks support the local economy by creating jobs, giving back to their communities, and helping small- and medium-sized local business grow and thrive.

There are 23 banking brands in the Upper Peninsula — seven national or regional and 16 with headquarters in the U.P. — with deposits that exceed $4.7 billion. The region’s largest community bank is mBank, headquartered in Manistique. Chartered in 1934 under the name of First National Bank in Manistique, mBank is the largest bank by asset size ($1.3 billion) headquartered in the U.P. and approximately the tenth largest bank by asset size headquartered in Michigan.  mBank has 29 total banking centers located predominantly in Northern Michigan and Northern Wisconsin, with eleven domiciled in the U.P. The growth experienced by mBank, especially in the last five years, has allowed the company to make a significant contribution to the overall economy in the region.

mBank’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Kelly George, equates the community bank experience with upscale dining. He explains, “We take the time to get to know clients. We’re not a ‘fast food bank’ — we’re more fine dining. We don’t want to just get you in and out and super-size you with products you don’t need. We like to sit down with you and go through the full course so we can understand your needs and provide you with the right financial services. The U.P. is fortunate to have a strong community bank platform that can accommodate a wide range of business sizes and industries, with safe and sound local banks for businesses to select from that best fit their needs.”

mBank takes pride in its employees and its ability to create local jobs. George notes, “The workforce in the U.P. is second to none. Our people are the cornerstone of our strength as a community bank.” mBank employs approximately 295 employees, a majority of whom call the Upper Peninsula home. The bank ensures that its employees have the necessary training, skills, and knowledge to be successful. George adds, “We’re proud to have cultivated a company culture where employees can experience career growth and educational opportunities.”

Like most community banks, mBank empowers individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses with smart financing and depository solutions. According to the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), community banks make nearly 50 percent of small business loans and 82 percent of agricultural loans. Granting access to capital for economic growth is one of mBank’s primary goals. In July 2018, ICBA recognized mBank as one of the top community banks nationally in commercial lending initiatives for banks with approximately $1 billion in assets.

Individuals and businesses alike benefit from a localized approach. George notes, “Probably the biggest difference, and a reason why people bank at community banks, is that the decisions are made locally. When someone comes into the bank seeking a loan, we make the decision right here. They don’t have to send paperwork to Detroit or Chicago for decisions to be made by individuals with little direct knowledge of the local business ecologies or clients. We can visit a log yard, walk a manufacturing facility, or tour a development project. Our people are empowered to make decisions because they know the customers well and they know the markets. That’s our biggest competitive advantage.” 

Community banks tend to be very active in the communities they serve. mBank contributes monetary investments and countless volunteer hours in areas including education, literacy, human services, animal welfare, and healthcare. The bank and its employees are committed to making an impact — whether donating to Feeding America, supporting the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight program, or helping to fund Beacon House.

Like its peers across the nation, the bank plays a vital role in anchoring its communities through good times and bad. mBank is dedicated to creating local jobs, aiding community initiatives, and providing capital and other resources for small businesses, while partnering to drive economic growth across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For more information on mBank, please visit

About InvestUP

InvestUP is a private sector-led economic development organization keenly focused on driving economic growth across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Founded by the region’s leading private sector businesses and the region’s universities, its mission is to deliver business and job growth across the peninsula.

About mBank
Headquartered in Manistique, Michigan, mBank proudly serves Michigan and Northern Wisconsin with 29 branch locations. With assets in excess of $1.30 billion, the community bank empowers individuals and small to medium sized businesses with smart financing and depository solutions for peace of mind. For more information, visit: Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Media Contacts:

* Karyn Olsson, InvestUP:

*Bethany Cody, mBank:

As a part of our commitment to the Upper Peninsula, we collaborate with partners to share some of the most compelling stories about business and job growth across the region. Our goal through these stories is to get at the heart of what makes the U.P. unique — and to ensure these stories travel beyond our peninsula and broadly illustrate why the UP is the place to live and work.

If you have an idea for an article, please contact a staff or board member at InvestUP.

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