Bankers Leap

July 14, 2006
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Commercial lenders throughout West Michigan are big on relationships. They get to know the prospective client and, eventually, have to make a judgment call: To lend, or not to lend? Some businesses in this area had to visit several banks before finding the right match. Others have stayed with the same bank for years, based simply on the trust and service provided as they grew.

The Business Journal talked to several banks and businesses in the area and asked for commercial lending’s best success stories. Who went out on a limb? Who proved other banks wrong by becoming successful? Why did some bankers decide to grant a loan when many others had passed on the same opportunity?

Commercial lending is always a gamble. But it’s an educated gamble, according to bankers. That’s why the relationship is so important, as is the homework. But when it comes right down to it, sometimes a gut feeling is the difference between a successful business venture and just another good idea that lacks funding.

Business Journal staff writers Anne Bond Emrich, Daniel Schoonmaker and Elizabeth Sanders went looking for real-life success stories here in West Michigan, and this is what they found.    

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