Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez

Senior writer, covers health care, finance and life sciences. Twitter: @masanche

GRAND RAPIDS — Independent Bank Corp. ended 2019 with a nearly 40-percent growth rate in quarterly earnings.

HOLLAND — Macatawa Bank Corp. grew net income 16 percent in the fourth quarter to $8.1 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, capping off a year of strong earnings growth.

GRAND RAPIDS — Aiming to create greater ethnic and racial diversity in business ownership across the region, The Right Place Inc. teamed with Bank of America and the Consumers Energy Foundation to form a capital investment fund.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020 11:31

Mercantile reports earnings, loan growth

GRAND RAPIDS — Mercantile Bank Corp. grew earnings for the fourth quarter and all of 2019.

GRAND RAPIDS — After finalizing a property deal with Gill Industries Inc., Spectrum Health is moving forward with plans to build a new office building on the north end of downtown that will consolidate 1,200 employees at a single location and house a training and learning center.

Care providers behind a new regional cancer treatment network hope the partnership raises the quality of the cancer care they provide.

ALLEGAN — The transformation plan President and CEO Murray Kessler put in place last spring to return Perrigo Co. plc to revenue and earnings growth appears to have gained traction late in 2019, based on preliminary results for the fourth quarter.

Grand Valley State University’s annual Health Check research report provides a wealth of granular data on trends that are affecting the West Michigan market. 

A lack of state funding for the popular Pure Michigan campaign that promotes the state as a travel destination complicates plans for tourism promoters now preparing for the 2020 summer season.

SPARTA — ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. wasn’t actively looking to do another deal, but the parent company of ChoiceOne Bank saw an opportunity with Community Shores Bank Corp. that was too good to pass up. 

Corey Hart returned to Grand Rapids last September to find that support for entrepreneurship and startup companies had grown well beyond what it was when he left for California a decade earlier.

West Michigan companies secured a collective $7 million in later-stage venture capital during the fourth quarter, as investments in Michigan reached a new high.

Talent, housing and infrastructure topped the 2020 priority list for members of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

KENTWOOD — A Chicago private equity firm formed last year to invest in medical practices around the Midwest cuts it first deal with an investment in Grand Health Partners.

SPARTA — Five months after closing one acquisition, ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. now plans to do another.

An assortment of state-backed capital funds and initiatives to support business startups, innovation and entrepreneurs recently earned renewal in Lansing.

Conner McClain and his business partner at In Between Dreams LLC plan to open an indoor growing facility for medical marijuana early next year in Vicksburg.

Bank M&A may ease in 2020, as fewer executives surveyed by the trade publication Bank Director view the market as favorable for deals.

ROUNDTABLE: The M&A market ended 2019 in good shape and professionals who work in the field expect dealmaking to remain strong in the new year. 

Matt Boersen considers his new role as a director at the Washington, D.C.-based Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. as coming at a pivotal time for the industry. The CFP Board of Standards last fall enacted a “fiduciary standard” that requires financial advisers to act solely in a client’s best interest when providing advice. The 31-year-old Boersen was one of three new directors recently elected to four-year terms on the board of directors for the CFP Board of Standards, which sets professional standards for financial planners and administers the CFP certification. The financial planner and managing partner at Jenison-based Straight Path Wealth Management spoke with MiBiz about the changes and the perspective he brings to the board.

HR consulting firm Mercer’s annual cost survey shows employers across Michigan paid an average of 4.7 percent more for employee health benefits in 2019. Employers expect 2020 costs to increase another 5.3 percent, provided they maintain the same benefit level, and 3.6 percent if they make changes to their health plans.

Frank Sardone departs Bronson Healthcare at the end of the year, ending 31 years with the Kalamazoo health system, the last 23 as its president and CEO. He prepares to retire as Bronson Healthcare undertakes major capital projects that include a new $22 million hospital in South Haven and a $60 million outpatient cancer pavilion in downtown Kalamazoo.

Marianne Udow-Phillips considers the last few years an “interesting time in health care because it’s always hard to predict exactly what’s going to happen” under President Donald Trump. The executive director of the Ann Arbor-based Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, Udow-Phillips hopes that what happens in 2020 is a greater push to better controlling ever-rising costs in health care. 

Fears of a national recession in 2020 are largely unfounded. So insists Jim Robey, director of regional economic planning services at the Kalamazoo-based W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

A combination of factors came together in 2019 to take a bite out of Michigan’s economy. The six-week General Motors strike, white-collar job cuts at GM and Ford early in 2019, a slowing manufacturing sector, and relatively flat auto sales collectively held back the state’s growth this year.

Investors approach 2020 with a little anxiety from concerns about the future of the U.S. economy that moved into a record period of expansion this past summer, plus the presidential election and other issues that create uncertainty. Nick Juhle, vice president and director of investment research, says investors view the stock market much as they did a year ago: with a sense of uncertainty about how long economic growth can last.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took office in January 2019 after a winning campaign in which she promised to fix the roads. Her proposal toward that goal, a 45-cent increase in state fuel taxes, proved about as popular as a mammoth pothole that rattles your teeth each day during the morning drive to the office. Finding a road solution that the Democratic governor and Republican-controlled state Legislature can agree on remains a priority in Lansing in 2020, said Matt Resch of public relations and public affairs firm Resch Strategies LLC. The new year will also see whether Gov. Whitmer and Republicans can move beyond their fierce battle over the state budget.

Despite outlooks for slower economic growth, college graduates can expect a “fairly strong” job market when they go looking for work next year after earning their degrees. In its annual recruiting trends report, Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute surveyed more than 2,800 U.S. employers in all 50 states and across all sectors and projects job opportunities will grow 12 percent across all degrees. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan wants to extend a new payment model across the state that both rewards and penalizes physicians and hospitals for beating or missing cost and quality targets.

Online retail websites now have to collect and pay state sales taxes on consumer purchases in Michigan. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed legislation requiring sales tax collections by online platforms such as Amazon and eBay. The laws fix a loophole that allowed organizations to forgo tax collection on transactions by sellers who use a third party’s platform.