Finance :In the News

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Lansing and Ann Arbor, economic rivals as well?

Oh, how the mighty might fall. Not only is U-M's football in decline, overshadowed by the green and white, Ann Arbor may soon see its economic dominance eclipsed by Lansing as well.


"But if growth trends continue, perhaps Lansing is poised to take the lead here as well after trailing Ann Arbor for 13 years.

In the Lansing region, which includes Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, GDP grew by 2.4 percent in 2013 over the previous year, with more growth expected from a series of recent plant investments by General Motors. But in the Ann Arbor region, which includes Washtenaw County, 2013 growth was an anemic .7 percent."

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The Bridge breaks down Ann Arbor's economy

Did you know we rank third among Michigan's economic regions but 241st among the nations top 382 metro areas? Check out The Bridge's thumbnail analysis of Ann Arbor's economy and enlighten yourself!

Read it here.

Ann Arbor-based Stratos develops one card to bind them all

We've covered Stratos big investment scores in a recent issue of Concentrate but it looks like TechCrunch just caught wind of the A2 company developing an all-in-one, inter-connected credit card.


"The startup raised $5.8 million from Midwest and West Coast investors. San Francisco-based Toba Capital led the round with Western Technology Investment, Hyde Park Venture Partners, and Michigan-based Resonant Venture Partners also participating.

Stratos is one of the latest companies to come out of Ann Arbor. Olson was born in Michigan, and its CTO co-founded Detroit Labs. Stratos operates out of the same building that houses the hot security startup, Duo Security."

Read the rest here.

Bank of Ann Arbor takes on the big boys

While banks and bankers may not be the public's favorite folks in our age of controversial bail outs and investment instruments, The Bank of Ann Arbor is proving that a local institution can sometimes outperform a multi-national corporation.


"In 2007, before the recession hit, the Bank of Ann Arbor was sixth in deposit market share with 8.04 percent in the city, with deposits of $329.8 million, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. KeyBank was No. 1 at 16.45 percent with deposits of $675.1 million.

As of June 30, 2013, the latest date for which data are available on the FDIC website, Chase was No. 1 at 17.3 percent with deposits of $901.6 million, while the Bank of Ann Arbor had climbed into second place at 12.38 percent and deposits of $646.2 million. "

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Ann Arbor startup Family Mint teaches kids money mgmt

Based out of Ann Arbor's Tech Brewery, Family Mint has released a video explaining how they help kids learn financial responsibility.
Watch the video below.

Detroit-based private-equity firm relies on U-M for hires

All discussions about Michigan's developing new economy include talent - where to get it, how to retain it, and what the next generation of professionals need. Huron Capital Partners (Michigan's largest private-equity firm) sees the University Of Michigan as an important pipeline for employees.
"The 20-person firm now takes up most of the 27th floor of the Guardian Building. It's new hires are mostly investment professionals. A large quantity of them earned their MBAs locally.
"The University of Michigan is educating more of our team than any other school," says Michael Beauregard, senior partner at Huron Capital Partners."
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U-M offers student course that explains its own finances

Let's say you're a student at the University Of Michigan, and you're wondering why your tuition is what it is. Well, now there's a course for that.
"Fifty-six students are registered this semester for "The Challenge of College Affordability: Financing the University," a series of seven two-hour lectures taught by top administrators at the public university. The course, geared toward sophomores, is designed to explain where the school gets revenue, what drives its costs and how that translates into tuition rates and financial-aid packages."
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Ann Arbor company provides "divine" financial counseling

So, where do religious institutions turn to for financial management and advice? Firms like Ann Arbor's O'Meara Ferguson Whelan and Conway, which claims the Catholic Church as one of its biggest clients.


"O'Meara Ferguson has counseled some of the Catholic Church's most successful fundraising campaigns, bringing in more than $1 billion in gifts while managing thousands of campaign volunteers. "Today, we're the largest financier for the Catholic Church in the world. We've arranged financing for $2 billion in refinancing or construction of Catholic facilities in United States in the past five years," O'Meara said. "We expect to do another $500 million this year."

Read the rest of the story here.


Borders bids for Barnes & Noble

Long-suffering Borders is making a play to acquire its healthier national adversary, Barnes & Noble. The Detroit Free Press calls this a "bold move" in an in-depth story. NPR gives a taste of what Borders' new name could look like post merger with suggestions like "Barnes and Borders, Noble Borders, BB&N." The Wall Street Journal lays out three pitfalls with the proposed merger. And if you're really feeling wonky, you can check out the actual SEC filing here.

U-M Credit Union looks at The Ann Arbor News building

The University of Michigan Credit Union is looking for bigger and better space, and its considering The Ann Arbor News building. However, downtown Ann Arbor isn't the only place it's looking.


The University of Michigan Credit Union is real-estate shopping and is looking at the now-vacant Ann Arbor News building on the southwest corner of Huron and Division streets.

However, the three-story News building is only one of several properties being considered as a potential home for the credit union’s administrative offices, says Jeff Schillag, the institution’s vice president of marketing and community relations.

Not all the potential sites are downtown, Schillag says. And any acquired space would replace leased office space.

Read the rest of the story here.

Chelsea's Bearclaw Coffee looks overseas for expansion cash

The folk's behind Bearclaw Coffee have gotten really creative with their financing so they can continue to expand their growing business.


When she needed investors to help grow her Bearclaw Coffee Co. franchise, Debi Scroggins looked to the Middle East.

The founder of the Ann Arbor-based coffee company has recruited nearly a dozen Iranians -- with more to follow -- to open mobile coffee carts in the United States at $180,000 a pop.

"These are candidates who are cash-ready," Scroggins said. "I've had so many candidates (in the United States) who have $30,000 to put down and cannot get financing because they lost their home equity and they lost their 401(k) and, oh, by the way, their credit has nicks in it."

Read the rest of the story here.

WSJ describes economy through Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline

How the economy is recovering, or at least trying to, can be easily illustrated through the stories of businesses in Ann Arbor, Saline and Ypsilanti.


YPSILANTI, Mich.—Thomas Harrison, chief executive of Michigan Ladder Co., has a plan that would contribute to the U.S. economic recovery: Expand the 108-year-old company, adding at least 20 jobs in the process. His chances of getting the loan of $300,000 or more he needs to do so, though, depend in part on what happens to folks like home builder James Haeussler.

Both are customers of the same community bank, the Bank of Ann Arbor. Mr. Haeussler is struggling to repay $8.3 million he and a partner borrowed to build a residential community in nearby Saline, Mich. In this economic environment, the bank doesn't want to take a chance on what it sees as a risky new loan to Mr. Harrison.

"In a world where Jim Haeussler makes it, Tom Harrison will make it," says Timothy Marshall, the bank's president. "But it's not prudent to do both loans at this point in time. We're in a more risk-averse mode."

Read the rest of the story here.
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