KESHENA, Wis. — Bay Bank, a financial institution owned by Oneida Nation, plans to open a branch office on the nearby Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin’s reservation. 

The new Bay Bank location, which is scheduled to open later this year, will be the first bank branch office on the Menominee reservation, according to a statement. The branch in Keshena, Wis. will adjoin a small existing gas station that’s being renovated into the Standing Pines Convenience Store and car wash, located across from Menominee Casino Resort.

“Nowhere in Indian Country has a team of people taken an idea like this from the drawing board, brought a team together and put a shovel in the ground. I look forward to what we will accomplish next,” Bay Bank President and CEO Jeff Bowman said in a statement, calling the project “business history in the making.” 

Green Bay-based Bay Bank, the only tribally owned bank in Wisconsin, plans to hire Menominee community members to staff the new 2,200-square-foot office. 

Officials with both tribes say the project is intended to serve as an economic engine of sorts for the small town of Keshena, located about 45 miles northwest of the bank’s home market.

“We have a tribe that had a business need to drive revenue, and they will get that with the new convenience store,” Bowman said. “We have a tribal community that wants a bank of their own, and they will get that with the new Bay Bank.” 

Menominee Indian Tribe-owned Wolf River Development Co. is developing the overall 6,100-square-foot mixed-use site. Kaukauna, Wis.-based Keller Inc. is serving as a general contractor for the convenience store project. 

The Keshena location will be Bay Bank’s first outside of Green Bay, where it currently has two offices. Bay Bank, which Oneida Nation became the sole owner of in 2000, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Bay Bank specializes in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program, which allows enrolled tribal members to access homeownership with a low down payment and less restrictive underwriting standards. 

As of June 30, Bay Bank had nearly $126.4 million in total assets, a year-over-year increase of 24.9 percent, according to a quarterly financial report filed with the FDIC. Total loans grew 19.2 percent from a year ago to about $78.5 million, while deposits increased 23 percent to nearly $98.1 million.

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Author: Native News Online Staff