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120 years and counting

June 2, 2010
The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK -Superior National Bank is celebrating its 120th birthday and the community is invited.

The two-day celebration kicks off Thursday, with complimentary coffee and bakery served at seven of the nine branch offices followed by a Parking Lot Picnic at Superior National's main office in Hancock Friday.

"Happy 120th birthday to each of you as we celebrate this huge milestone," said Judy Usitalo, vice president of human resources/marketing for Superior National. "It is the efforts of every single individual that ultimately leads to our success."

Article Photos

This is the present location of Superior National, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary.

Friday's picnic will take place in the bank parking lot from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature a hot dog cookout, refreshments, gift and prize giveaways, along with live music performed by The Outlaws.

Tents, tables and chairs will provide plenty of seating room, Usitalo said, and she's planning on a big turnout.

"We've done many things like this in the past, not at this location, but at other branches and past events have been smashingly successful," she said. "People know that we throw a good party."

To mark the anniversary, Superior National is offering a special for deposits and loans.

On the deposit side, Usitalo said they're offering a 40-month CD anniversary special with a 4.06 percent APY. Effective Thursday for a limited time, the CD special is for personal accounts only and requires a $500 minimum deposit.

As far as the loan special, Usitalo said they're offering 1.2 percent off all automobile and recreation loans issued between June 3 through 9.

With nine branches in Houghton, Keweenaw and Baraga counties, and 115 people on the payroll, Superior National Bank is the largest independent bank in the Upper Peninsula. It is also the only locally-owned and operated bank in the area.

Currently, Superior National has $428 million in assets and has the highest savings rate at 1.25 APY.

"We have the 5-Star Rating from Bauer Financial (the highest rating possible) and are recognized as one of the top 10 banks in the state by the Michigan Bankers Association," Usitalo said.

In 2009, Superior National was ranked as one of the top 200 banks in the nation by U.S. Banker Magazine and this year, Usitalo said, the publication ranked Superior National 52nd in the nation.

There are many benefits for customers who bank with Superior National, Usitalo said, starting with the fact that Superior National is locally owned and operated and has the same technology other banks have.

"You have two things, all the bells, whistles and technology at your fingertips and you also have a live person answering your telephone," she said. "So, you have the best of both worlds."

In addition, Superior National has the only full-time, full-service trust department this side of Marquette and offers Saturday loan services at its Ridgecrest Plaza office.

"Our bank is doing remarkably well," Usitalo said. "We continue to grow in an environment where bank growth is almost nonexistent."

Superior National has quite the history in the community, dating back to 1870 when the Quincy Mine opened on Quincy Hill. A group of local businessmen, led by Charles Wright, formed what was then called Superior Savings Bank, offering financial services to the several hundred employees of the Quincy Mining Company.

Usitalo said the townspeople nicknamed the bank, "The working folks bank," because it was a place where little people could go to withdraw or deposit money, get a loan and plan for their future.

For the first nine years, the bank operated out of the back of a jewelry store on the corner of Quincy and Reservation streets, before Wright, who was the bank's first president, purchased the building, demolished it and rebuilt a three-story building on the site where it remained for 60 years.

Growth forced the bank to relocate to its current site, which had been occupied by St. Patrick's Church until a fire destroyed the structure in 1937. Along with the move went the bank's original vault door, which remains in an office of the present building.

The new bank was the first to feature drive-up banking services in the area.

Since then, Superior National has had 17 presidents and opened eight additional locations within Mohawk, Calumet, Lake Linden, Hancock, Chassell, Baraga, L'Anse and Houghton.

Current President, Willis Fontaine has been the longest serving president, Usitalo said, with 21 years of leadership. Prior to becoming president, Fontaine worked as a loan officer for 24 years. In total, Fontaine has been with Superior National for 45 years.

With a rich history such as that of Superior National's, Usitalo said, there's a lot to be proud of.

"We have much to celebrate," Usitalo said. "Little did Charles Wright and a few businessmen ever dream what Superior Savings Bank would become."

For more information, call Superior National Bank's main office in Hancock at 482-0404 or visit

Superior National's website also features deals on real estate, businesses, properties, vehicles and recreational vehicles the bank currently has for sale.

Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by Superior National Bank of Hancock. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.



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