Finance

Small businesses that have been slammed by the coronavirus pandemic and expect to have difficulty making commercial loan payments should call their bankers now to work out possible adjustments.

The COVID-19 pandemic that’s swept the nation adds a new issue for business succession and transition planning.

Experts say many business owners don’t plan for their eventual exit until they are ready to leave or have begun to see the day they depart.

Fifth Third Bank plans a number of immediate moves to ease the financial burden on small business and consumers hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

GRAND RAPIDS — Charter Growth Capital Fund co-invested along with Birmingham-based lead investor Colfax Creek Capital LLC in Traverse City Products LLC.

Two locally-based banks — Mercantile Bank and West Michigan Community Bank — plan to close the lobbies of bank branches to customers starting Wednesday.

The trade associations representing the banking industry across Michigan say banks intend to stay open during the crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus outbreak that’s battered Wall Street and caused supply chain disruptions for some manufacturers has yet to interrupt transactions, although more conversations are occurring as part of due diligence, according to M&A professionals.

GRAND RAPIDS — An interested investor led Charter Capital Partners to form a small fund for investors to put money into a craft distiller.

GRAND RAPIDS — Hiring an M&A adviser in the Chicago area expands business broker Calder Capital LLC into new markets in the Midwest.

As much of the banking industry went in the opposite direction, Sparta-based ChoiceOne Bank opened branches starting in late 2018.

GRAND HAVEN — A $5 million private equity investment supports UV Angel’s move toward the marketplace with a new product that cleans the air in hospitals and other facilities.

HOLT — Business Management Resources Inc., a provider of managed accounting services to restaurant chains, has been acquired by Cincinnati, Ohio-based accounting and advisory firm Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co.

GRAND RAPIDS — Charter Capital Partners represented Hancock-based Keweenaw Financial Corp., the parent company of Superior National Bank & Trust, in the $42 million acquisition of North Star Financial Holdings Inc.

GRAND RAPIDS — Red Oak Capital Group LLC has formed another fund that seeks to raise $50 million through a public bond offering to make commercial real estate bridge loans.

A monthly survey shows West Michigan’s manufacturing sector remained slow in January, although a couple of key indexes improved slightly from the prior month.

SPARTA — Shares of ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc., the parent company of ChoiceOne Bank and Lakestone Bank & Trust, will begin trading Friday on The Nasdaq Capital Market under its present symbol “COFS.”

Kwame Anku believes the New Community Transformation Fund forming in Grand Rapids could become a national model for driving greater economic inclusion in venture capital.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Right Place Inc.’s new venture capital fund plans to target investments toward an area of the economy where capital historically has flowed the least: startups and businesses owned by racial and ethnic minorities.

GRAND RAPIDS — After completing fundraising at the end of 2019, Grand Angels has a couple of new deals in the works for its latest venture capital fund.

If federal regulators want to increase the flow of capital to startups across the U.S., Tim Parker suggests they consider creating a new class of investor.

Michigan’s venture capital industry made further progress in 2019 as investors put a record $771.6 million into 115 deals with state-based companies, according to Pitchbook and the National Venture Capital Association. Despite the industry’s growth, David Brophy says a lot more needs to happen to further build venture capital in Michigan to seed and grow more startups and attract more investors, particularly large institutional investors who can put money into Michigan-based funds. Brophy serves as director of the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance at the University of Michigan and is founder of the annual Midwest Growth Capital Symposium. He spoke with MiBiz about the status of venture capital in Michigan. 

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 driver 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.