Relationship-based banking backed by fast service and sophisticated tech—that’s what customers get at Citizens State Bank.
One of Michigan’s oldest financial institutions, Citizens State Bank first opened its doors in 1910 with a mission of improving the financial lives of its customers and enriching local communities. More than 110 years later, the bank remains dedicated to those same tenants as it forges ahead into a promising future.
“We provide the same technology and products of a large bank, the personal relationships of a small-town bank, and the extraordinary customer service of a private bank,” says owner Chris Yatooma. “Our customers know they can walk into our building, shake hands with the CEO, and get capital or customized banking solutions within hours, not weeks.”
Headquartered in the affluent city of Royal Oak, Citizens State Bank’s original location sits nine hours northwest in Ontonagon. The tiny village is home to just under 1,300 people and sits tucked away along Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
“Like most small towns, banks have always played an integral role in Ontonagon’s community,” says Dan Fischer, president and CEO. The lake historically supported several industries, including paper mills and copper mines. But as Ontonagon evolved into a tourist destination, the bank struggled.
“We purchased Citizens State Bank in 2020, and it was a win-win for everyone,” Fischer says. “We found the right bank to invest in, and the community really benefited from that investment.”
A Southeast Michigan native with Chaldean roots, Chris Yatooma brings impressive, cross-industry business experience. The self-made entrepreneur started his first business at age 16 before building an investment empire across real estate and other industries.
But Yatooma thanks his father for growing his business grit. “My father came from Iraq in 1949 when he was just two years old. He was a dedicated business owner for most of his life and inspired my passion from a very young age.”
That’s one reason Citizens State Bank is committed to Oakland County’s Chaldean communities and businesses. The area is home to the largest Chaldean population in the United States, and Yatooma’s bank proudly services and supports the community’s unique needs.
“We’re the only Chaldean-owned bank in the country,” Fischer adds. “We have diversity on our staff and hustle in our step. We’ll meet with customers after hours, including Saturdays, Sundays, or evenings. That’s the above and beyond effort you don’t see in the banking industry these days.”
Known for sophisticated tech, quick turnarounds, and no-hassle services, Citizens State Bank’s small size hasn’t hampered its ambitions or record-setting growth. The institution has grown from $60 million to $145 million in total assets since October 2021, with a dedicated focus on entrepreneurs and small businesses.“
We have a fast, flexible lending platform and the ability to help customers quickly and efficiently. But beyond that, we believe in relationship-based banking,” Fischer says. “We get to know our customers, understand their business, and stay personally invested throughout their journey. That’s the biggest difference at Citizens State Bank.”
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