Blackhawk Bank eyes downtown Janesville location

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Jim Leute
Monday, April 21, 2014

JANESVILLE—A Beloit-based bank with eight locations in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois plans to open a branch in downtown Janesville.

Janesville’s plan commission on Monday forwarded to the city council a three-year lease agreement with Blackhawk Bank for the 2,800-square-foot building at 200 W. Milwaukee St. The plan commission gave the plan a favorable recommendation.

The bank, which plans to open early in the third quarter, will pay $1,400 a month for the life of the lease, with an option to buy the property for $275,000 at the end of the three years.

The lease includes six of the 23 onsite parking stalls. The remaining 17 would remain available for public parking unless Blackhawk exercises its purchase option.

At least initially, the branch will be a loan center serving northern Rock County with commercial loan services to business owners and home mortgage loans to individuals.

“We like Janesville very much,” said Dave Adkins, Blackhawk Bank's chief operations officer. “The demographics and the vibrancy in the commercial sector excites us, and better employment numbers and higher education and income levels are all things that support our decision.”

Adkins said Blackhawk Bank recently financed a project on the corner of Old Humes Road and Milton Avenue.

“The response was amazing, although people misunderstood our sign to mean we were locating at that corner,” Adkins said. “We were just financing that project, but the interest was encouraging.”

Adkins said the Janesville branch would conveniently support Blackhawk Bank customers in the northern part of Rock County. If the downtown branch does well, it could become a full-service operation and could possibly lead to another retail location in Janesville.

Adkins said the downtown branch should be open in early July.

“We're very excited to open a dedicated loan center to serve both our existing and new clients with superior, value-added service that stems from our long history of engaging in solid community-banking principles,” he said.

Blackhawk Bank, a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., is a 133- year-old bank with headquarters in Beloit.

Blackhawk Bancorp., the holding company for Blackhawk Bank, reported record earnings for 2013. For this first quarter of this year, it reported net income was up 20 percent.

The city bought the Milwaukee Street property from First American Credit union in 1999 for use as additional office space. The city Housing and Neighborhood Services Department called it home until 2006. Community Action leased it through January of this year.

Blackhawk Bank is one of two new banks that plan to open in downtown Janesville.

The Sauk City-based Wisconsin River Bank soon will open a branch at 1101 N. Parker Drive, a former branch of Parker Community Credit Union.

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