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American 1 Credit Union Closing GL Branch

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After 20 years in Grass Lake, American 1 Credit Union will be closing their Grass Lake branch. In a letter dated last week to their customers, American 1 announced the closing of the Grass Lake branch effective Saturday, Sept 9th.

Vice President of Marketing & Communications said in an interview with the Grass lake Times, that while it was “not our desire to close, our lease is up and we have to be out.” She said “We hope to be back in Grass Lake… and will continue to look for suitable options for a new location in Grass Lake. We have great members in Grass Lake”. To help customers, the ATM inside of the Kelly Fuels Express Mart is being upgraded to accept deposits. “We are grateful for Kelly Fuels allowing us to expand our ATM footprint within their store.”

The building that the American 1 Grass Lake branch is located in is owned by Sam Choucair, who also owns and runs the Buddys Mini Mart and BP station. Choucair said “Their lease is up. There is a big difference in the price they were willing to pay and what I was offering. While I increased my lease price to help offset the increased costs I am incurring, they countered by offering to pay less than what they currently pay. Their rate has not increased in the last 5 years. I pay almost all the utility bills, the maintenance and more. It is just too costly for the rent they pay.” He reiterated “I want to be fair, its just too costly”.

Choucair said he has no plans for the immediate future for the space. “I am not going to jump into anything yet. I want to see what’s good for the neighbors, good for the community, what’s good for business. I am open to suggestions from the community as to what might be good here. I don’t want to do something that is already being done in Grass Lake. I am open to another bank, I am open to American 1, I am open to food options, I just want to see what the people want.”

American 1 has been a tenant since 1997. Their lease transferred to Choucair upon his purchase of the property in 2002. They have 13 offices throughout the area. Pryor said the closest branches to Grass Lake are the Chelsea office inside of Country Market, the offices in East Jackson and Brooklyn.

She said “they have been looking for a place that has good customer parking, employee parking, a drive-up ATM, drive-thru teller and security. All of those factors are necessary.”

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