Finance

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

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. 

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.

KALAMAZOO — SalesPage Technologies LLC made its second acquisition in seven months with a deal for SalesStation, a division of Milwaukee, Wisc.-based Celera Systems LLC.

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

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.

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.

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

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

GRAND RAPIDS — Private equity firm Blackford Capital Inc. purchased the U.S. brand licensing rights to Cartridge World, a franchised printing consumables brand. 

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.

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.

TRAVERSE CITY — Private equity-backed High Street Insurance Partners Inc. has acquired InPro Insurance Agency LLC, a full-service independent insurance agency in Troy, Mich.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Ventures’ portfolio company Sigstr of Indianapolis has been acquired by another growing venture capital-backed tech firm. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Charter Growth Capital Fund has invested in All Star Driver Education LLC, an Ann Arbor provider in drive education.

GRAND RAPIDS — The $1.4 million investment in Portage-based Micro Laser Assisted Machining Technologies LLC represents the largest single investment ever for Grand Angels and its affiliated angel groups and venture capital fund.

GRAND RAPIDS — Investor relations and public relations firm Lambert & Co. has expanded into the Southwest U.S. with the hiring and acquisition of a team of professionals based in Phoenix, Ariz.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Angels launched a new affiliate in Flint, further expanding its presence across Michigan.

Trade tariffs and the direction of the economy, coupled with concerns about the 2020 U.S. presidential election, weighed down expectations for mergers and acquisitions next year.

Business owners surveyed by PNC Bank remain optimistic about the local and national economies, despite worries about tariffs and pricing pressures and outlooks for slower growth ahead.

GRAND RAPIDS — Muskegon-based Conn Geneva & Robinson CPA and Consultants PC has merged with Grand Rapids-based accounting firm Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors LLC.

SPARTA — Higher expenses mostly related to the Oct. 1 merger with County Bank Corp. cut into third quarter earnings for ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc.

A $500,000 grant from Wells Fargo Bank will enable Northern Initiatives to put a larger focus on diversifying its lending.

Independent Bank Corp. reported higher income for the third quarter of $12.4 million, or 55 cents per diluted share.

Macatawa Bank Corp. grew earnings nearly 20 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Ventures led an investment round in CRE Simple Inc., an Oakland, Calif.-based fintech firm focused on commercial real estate.

GRAND RAPIDS — Mercantile Bank Corp. maintained solid growth and earnings through the third quarter.

KALAMAZOO — A Grand Rapids mezzanine fund’s investment will enable Keystone Solutions Group to maintain its strong growth trajectory in the years ahead.

Investors initially wanted to up their ante and take their stake in Caledonia-based Acrisure LLC to several times their existing holdings.

Raising $25 million in capital and acquiring a mortgage company positioned Northpointe Bank for even more growth in the years ahead.

GRAND RAPIDS — Red Oak Capital Group LLC plans to raise another $50 million through a public bond offering for a third fund to offer bridge loans for commercial real estate.

Even if the U.S. Senate were to pass a bill to make it easier for banks and credit unions to serve the emerging cannabis industry, questions remain over just how many financial institutions will act quickly on the opportunity.

Charter Growth Capital Fund, a mezzanine fund formed this past summer by Grand Rapids-based Charter Capital Partners, made its first deal with an investment in Keystone Solutions Group.

GRAND RAPIDS — Greatland Corp., a provider of W-2, 1099 and 1095 solutions, has acquired JAT Software Inc. of Bridgewater Township, N.J.

GRAND RAPIDS — Venture capital fund Grand Ventures has closed on $28 million that was raised for its first fund.

CALEDONIA — Acrisure LLC has launched a joint venture to sell insurance coverage directly to consumers through a digital platform backed by artificial intelligence.

SPARTA — ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. remains open to further acquisitions after the $89 million deal with Lapeer-based County Bank Corp. is completed next year.

The purchase of Ottawa Kent Insurance Agency Inc. comes as a Traverse City-based agency platform backed by private equity investors pursues a Midwest acquisition strategy.

PORTAGE — Kenneth Leonard and Ryan Reffitt originally set out to provide small banks and credit unions across Michigan with underwriting and other support services for writing business loans.

A subsidiary of RDV Corp., the family office for the DeVos family, has acquired a stake in Swedish-based private equity firm Nordic Capital.

SPARTA — ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc.’s merger with Lapeer-based County Bank Corp. easily earned shareholder approvals this morning and now heads to a close next spring.

JENISON — Ottawa Kent Insurance Agency Inc. was acquired by Traverse City-based High Street Insurance Partners Inc., an insurance agency platform formed last year by Huron Capital Partners LLC, a Detroit-based private equity firm.

Here is the revised text of the “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation” issued by the Business Roundtable on Aug. 19:

As U.S. economic growth slows, so too does Michigan’s economy.