After serving Southwest Michigan for over 147 years, Southern Michigan Bank and Trust has established a strong presence in the Kalamazoo/Portage market.
Founded in 1872 and headquartered in Coldwater, Southern serves the five counties of Branch, Hillsdale, Calhoun, St. Joseph, and now Kalamazoo with fourteen individual branches.
In 2016, Southern built a state-of-the-art branch on the corner of Kilgore and Westnedge. After quickly outgrowing that space, they expanded into the Portage Trade Centre in 2018, and by 2019, they transitioned to a larger space in the Trade Centre.
Meet the Team
Southern’s two Portage locations are staffed with an experienced team that knows banking and knows the region.
Tim Kilmartin, Kalamazoo regional president, is a native of Kalamazoo who brings over thirty-five years of banking experience to Portage and Kalamazoo. His commitment to Kalamazoo is further defined by his service on the boards of the Borgess Hospital Foundation, Congregation of St. Joseph Ministries, the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre Foundation, and the Arts Council of Kalamazoo. He has served on numerous other non-profit boards and is the past president of the Kalamazoo Rotary Club.
Vice President of Market Development Tom Schlueter grew up in Kalamazoo and is a resident of Portage. He has an extensive background as a banker, as well as local knowledge and involvement. Schlueter is currently a member of several boards in Kalamazoo, including the City of Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Economic Development Corporation, the Kalamazoo Cultural Center, and Ministry with Community. Additionally, he recently termed out of his board position with the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation after nine years of service.
Kalamazoo native Derek Naylor brings over eighteen years of management and sales experience to his position as first vice president/head of retail lending at the bank. He is responsible for managing Southern’s retail lending division and developing the Kalamazoo/Portage retail market. Naylor says, “Southern Michigan Bank and Trust has been around for nearly 150 years and we firmly believe there is a need in the Kalamazoo county market for a relationship-oriented bank like Southern. We focus strongly on our customers’ experience with us by being their partner and adviser, as well as doing business in a modern way with all the added banking conveniences customers desire in today’s market.”
As a part of Southern’s ongoing strategy to develop the region, it purchased Improved Funding Techniques, a wealth management firm owned by Joseph Spoerl, CEBS, who joined the bank as vice president/wealth management officer. Spoerl has served 43 years in the trust services and financial planning industry, where he specializes in employee benefit plans. He is heavily involved in the Kalamazoo community and participates in various fundraisers for Western Michigan University, Catholic Charities, Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, and other worthy causes.
Vice President/Wealth Management Officer Mary Marshall, CTFA, has served over twenty years in the financial planning and trust services industry. Marshall is a member of the Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes Resource Development Committee, as well as the 100 Kalamazoo Women Who Care Group.
Cammy Fleckenstein began at Southern in October of 2015. She brings with her over thirty years of banking experience, where she has served in management positions. She volunteers her free time in the community and is a member of the Kalamazoo Sunrise Kiwanis.
Reflective of their loyalty to the city they love, Kilmartin, Schlueter, Naylor, Marshall, and Spoerl are all proud Western Michigan University alumni, as is Southern’s President and Chief Credit Officer Kurt Miller.
How They Do Business
Southern is the 12th largest community bank headquartered in Michigan with assets of over $781 million. It was recently recognized by American Banker Magazine on their national list of Top 200 Community Banks with less than $2 billion in assets.
It attributes its success to always putting customers first. As Bryan Smith, owner of United States Lumber Company, describes it, “The customer service offered by Southern is more than just lending. When I walk into a branch, every single person knows my name.”
Its hands-on approach has developed lasting relationships and a deeper understanding of how each of its customers operate. “Southern took the time to know and understand my business and then listened,” says Steve Taplin, president of the Taplin Companies.
Southern has continued to support its customer service efforts with added investment in banking technology. A suite of branchless banking products has enabled the ability to bank anytime, anywhere.
Online banking, mobile banking, bill pay, remote deposit capture, personal teller machines and eStatements are some of the products it offers. Southern also provides customer account alerts in order to mitigate fraud and monitor spending.
A Commitment to Community Investment
“What differentiates Southern from the big banks is its commitment to investing in the communities it serves,” said Tom Schlueter.
Southern offers financial and physical support to local schools, non-profits, arts and athletics, and many other organizations and agencies in its service area. Since its arrival in Portage, Southern has provided over $150,000 in monetary support, as well as numerous volunteer hours and corporate resources in the region.
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, Farmers Alley Theatre, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Ministry with Community/Chefs Against Hunger are just a few of the Kalamazoo county organizations Southern supports.
When organizations large and small need support and sponsorships, they call on the community banks first. Yearbooks, shelterhouses, art festivals, and booster clubs rely on their contributions and sponsorships. Southern has always been a leader in its support of charitable entities and events.
In addition to volunteerism and monetary support, it also provides a number of products and services that benefit the community. Going above and beyond traditional banking efforts, Southern has checking accounts with cell phone protection, roadside assistance, ID theft aid, and much more.
While it continues to expand operations in the area, there is no sign of slowing down. “We’re here for the long haul,” said Tim Kilmartin, “This is a market that is growing, and we look forward to being a big part of that growth.”
THIS CONTENT WAS SPONSORED BY SOUTHERN MICHIGAN BANK AND TRUST.