The Loan Arranger

April 10, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County Treasurer Kenneth Parrish told county commissioners recently that the money the county invests with local financial institutions is largely used by these banks to make commercial and construction loans.

And the county continues to invest a lot with these lenders.

At the end of 2005, Kent County had nearly $224 million wrapped up in certificates of deposit and in money market accounts at 21 area banks, and about $4 million in a cash deposit at one local bank.

“We don’t want to be a top investor with any of the banks,” said Parrish as to why he invests the county’s money with so many banks.

Seventy-five percent of the county’s total investments last year were made with local banks, just slightly less than the 78 percent in 2004. Huntington National Bank held the county’s largest local investment amount at $56.8 million, accounting for 19 percent of all investments made with local banks. The others ranged from $32.3 million to $160,733.

Parrish added two banks to the county’s investment list last year: The Private Bank and West Michigan Community Bank. Each received deposits of more than $2 million last year.

“We invest in blocks of $500,000 and $1 million,” he said.

Parrish explained that the amount of an investment that he makes with a bank is based on the size of the assets an institution has, and that an investment made by the county can’t be more than 1 percent of a bank’s assets unless the bank has over $10 billion in assets.

In addition, he said he wouldn’t invest more than 25 percent of the county’s funds with a single bank, and that safety, liquidity and yield underline his investment philosophy.

“We don’t want to lose any of the county’s money, and we’ve been good at not doing that,” said Parrish.

Besides the investments with local banks, the county had just under $72 million tied up in government securities and another $2.7 million in pooled funds, money market investments not with a bank.

In all, Kent had $302.5 million in investments and cash at the end of last year — a figure that was about $21 million less than the previous year. But the county earned about $13.5 million in interest income last year, which was up from the $8.4 million the county earned in 2004. Parrish credited the Federal Reserve Bank’s raising of the fed rate for the higher return the county received last year. 

Kent County Investments

GRAND RAPIDS—Kent County had fewer dollars tied up in investments in 2005 than it did in 2004. But the county had nearly 4.5 times the amount of cash tucked away in local banks in 2005 than it did in 2004.

Here is a comparison of county investments over the past two years.

Investment Type

2004

2005

Percent Change

CDs & Money Market

$251,617,330

$223,988,251

-11.0%

Government Securities

$67,223,487

$71,979,712

6.99%

Pooled Funds

$2,690,721

$4,077,269

51.3%

Cash in Bank

$713,087

$3,906,758

447.8%

Total Cash & Investments

$323,631,174

$302,565,443

-6.52%

Note: The 2005 report covers investments made in 2004 and the 2006 report does the same for 2005.

Source: Kent County Investment Report, 2005 & 2006.    

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