Founder and Chair – LMFC
Vice Chair – LMFC
President and CEO – LMFC
President & CEO – The Bank of Holland
SVP of Shared Services - LMFC

Hear from the founder of Lake Michigan Financial Corporation, Rich Lievense, and his insight on what this blog encompasses.

Careful readers of this site will note we have posted an update of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research quarterly report. This is the only publication we have found that gives specific regional economic and employment forecasts. We hope you find this interesting and can use it as you make plans in your specific businesses.

Read more, article: Business Outlook for West Michigan from the W.E. Upjohn Institute.

Common thinking will tell you that entrepreneurs succeed by taking big risks and winning big. In our business, we are exposed to entrepreneurs who both succeed and fail - sometimes privately and sometimes very publically. We have come to the conclusion that really successful entrepreneurs - the ones that have longevity and build great businesses- are quite risk adverse. They have put their own money and future at risk and work hard to insure they don't lose it and make it grow. They tend to have a long term perspective and make reasoned bets that often pay off over time. This story line does not read as well as the person who bets it all and hits the home run. But these people have been the traditional core of our American economy and will lead us positively into the future. 

Read more, article: The Sure Thing via The New Yorker.



Trust has always been a foundation for the lending business. Banks make loans and trust that people will tell us the truth and pay us back. It sounds old fashioned but we rely on that personal commitment in our business. The national residential real estate nightmare is having a profound effect on trust. People see large companies walking away from their obligations and declaring bankruptcy with the express intent of not paying back loans. Some banks seem to have been rewarded for their risky behavior. People ask, why not me? Why should I continue to pay a loan where I own more than the property is worth? Why don't I just stop paying and find another house at today's reduced valuations? My neighbor just walked away from his house, why shouldn't I? This trend will have a significant impact on the availability of credit in the future. It will also be a revealing indication of the values that serve as a foundation for our society.

Read more, article: Walk Away from Your Mortgage! from The New York Times.



It seems easy to be critical of our country. The media reviews our problems and deficiencies on a ongoing basis and it is easy to lose hope in future. We seem to forget the wonderful advances born in this country and the leadership and commitment to freedom that characterizes us around the world. How to we change our mindset and start to evaluate how we will emerge from our current difficulties? How do we build on our intrinsic strengths and re-establish our place in the world?

We continue to be optimistic about the ability of the American people to be great. Our culture of innovation, our commitment to education, a willingness to work hard and take risks, and our receptiveness to immigration have been hallmarks of our road to prosperity. We do wonder, however, about our broken and gridlocked political system. Is this system ready to address our twenty-first century challenges? Will we re-establish to commitment to the 'common good'?

Read more, article: How America Can Rise Again in The Atlantic.




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