This Surreal Time-Warp Continues…

March 3, 2022 - 10 min read

About a week ago I sat down to begin organizing some thoughts for this Michigan Monthly. Candidly, I had intended upon shifting slightly from all the talk about inflation and Fed interest rate hikes, and simply touch on a topic we have visited a few times over the years: branch networks. I thought ongoing branch…

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Did Someone Say “Volatility?”

December 15, 2021 - 10 min read

I thought, or at least hoped, that this might be a quick “Happy Holidays” missive closing out the year and wishing everyone the best as we approach 2022. However, that sentiment shifted quickly as the Omicron variant emerged around Thanksgiving, and both the equity and bond markets experienced sporadic convulsions that have not completely abated….

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Not Necessarily as Bad as it May Appear

September 16, 2021 - 8 min read

The title of this quick missive could very easily relate to this week’s release of the latest inflation data. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) eased off the level reported in recent months, which had been a 13-year high, measuring 5.3% versus a year ago.  The 5.4% inflation rate recorded in June and July had been…

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Blessed are the Community Banks, for They Shall Inherit the State of Michigan

May 21, 2021 - 6 min read

In a few months, the Michigan banking landscape will witness a development that has not existed in decades — there will be zero independent banks headquartered in the state with total assets of at least $10 billion. Zero. In the last six months, three announcements detailed that the state’s two largest banks (TCF, which is approximately $50…

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Michigan Banking Summary: Visibility Improving

April 23, 2021 - 6 min read

As Q1-2021 earnings releases hit the wires, the big banks have already set a general tone along the lines of “it didn’t get as bad across the board as we initially thought a year ago…but we are still not completely out of the woods”, economic forecasts continue to reflect a brighter, and welcoming, picture for…

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Michigan Banking Summary: Back to the Future

February 19, 2021 - 13 min read

Businesses shutting down. Schools, churches, and theaters closing. Public gathering largely forbidden. Citizens instructed to wear masks and avoid shaking hands. Hundreds of thousands of Americans succumbing to the virus. Even the President of the United Stated contracting this lethal variant of the common flu. 2020? No. Approximately 100 years ago, the 1918 Flu Pandemic…

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A Powerful Combination: You Can’t Fight the Fed, and Additional Stimulus/Relief is Coming

December 22, 2020 - 5 min read

As the Holidays rapidly approach, there is great news as we deal with the pandemic! Congress just approved a nearly $900 billion stimulus deal, including $600 individual payments, a $300 boost to federal unemployment insurance benefits, increased funding for vaccine distribution and Covid-19 testing, and a roughly $284 billion extension of the small business Payment Protection Program…

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Michigan Banking Summary: All I Want for Christmas

December 8, 2020 - 6 min read

Over the past few weeks, I’ve given much thought as to what I wanted to say in the final Michigan Banking Summary of 2020. A short, but sincere, “Happy Holidays” just didn’t seem quite right amidst the hardships and losses experienced across our state (and this country) because of the pandemic. Waxing philosophical on the…

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Pandemic + Election + Stimulus Negotiations = UNCERTAINTY

November 2, 2020 - 7 min read

With the Presidential election just a few days away, the markets have experienced a few fits and starts in recent sessions, as investors wrestle with the potential implications of the results, compounded by the possibility that such results may not be known for some time after November 3rd. As it relates to the banking sector,…

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Recovery or Rebound?

September 23, 2020 - 9 min read

With a dramatic broad market recovery attracting significant press coverage in recent weeks, it’s worth noting that, technically, not all participants have truly recovered from the initial early-spring Covid-induced downdraft. Recall how devasting and swift that sell-off was:  it only took about six weeks for all major market indices to decline roughly 35%, recording the…

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M&A: Some Deals are Closing, While Others are Cratering, as Uncertainty Continues to Dominate the Landscape

July 16, 2020 - 7 min read

After witnessing fairly consistent levels that approximated 250+ transactions announced in recent years, the M&A activity in the banking industry has, much like everything else in this pandemic-framed environment, been dramatically altered.  Annually, from 2017 through 2019, the number of acquisitions in the sector totaled 255, 254 and 259, respectively. Through early July of this…

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Michigan Banking Summary – Unemployment:  The Need to Flatten a New Curve

June 17, 2020 - 7 min read

Issue 6:  June 2020 As segments of the national economy slowly re-open, often in incremental stages depending upon the COVID-19 impact within a state and the perceived risk profile (from a healthcare perspective) of that business, all eyes are affixed on the Depression Era-levels of unemployment that litter the U.S. landscape. The forced shutdowns in…

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