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      Weather ball, quality service remain in Flint

      Call it a "sign" of the times.

      Signage representing a century-old banking institution in the heart of Flint is being replaced.

      Before an attentive crowd of bystanders the remaining pieces marking the late 1800's banking institution make way for a new bank on the block.

      "Everything is the way they talk i think it's going to be great," said Burton resident, Norma Abraham.

      Chairman and CEO of FirstMerit Michigan Sandy Pierce assures, "the only thing different is what we did today. Change the signs."

      FirstMerit Corporation making its presence known along South Saginaw Street.

      The business unveiled new signage Thursday but say they will maintain familiar values for Flint residents.

      "It's about as good of a situation you can get in a merger of two big companies," said President of FirstMerit Michigan, David Lochner.

      Ohio-based FirstMerit Corporation purchased Citizens Republic Bank late last year.

      Bank leaders promise growth in Flint.

      "Our loan growth last quarter was a 19% growth in the Midwest so there's lot of opportunities for growth in the Midwest and we couldn't be more thrilled," said Pierce.

      The sale going through with what company officials call few layoffs.

      Pierce explains, since there were not any FirstMerit locations in Michigan, "there's not branch overlap in Michigan for FirstMerit."

      "The impact on our colleagues was very minimal and really the impact on our communities is going to be positive," said Lochner.

      The other positive; the giant round weather predictor is here to stay.

      "That was the first thing someone said to me when they called me in Florida is what's going to happen with the weather ball," laughed Abraham.

      United Way C.E.O., Jamie Gaskin laughed, "I'm excited that my 5-year-old will continue to see that at the top of the building."

      Pierce says the only thing that will change is the lettering directly beneath the weather ball.

      The letters will change from "C, B" to "F, M."