Founder and Chair – LMFC
Vice Chair – LMFC
President and CEO – The Bank of Northern Michigan
SVP of Shared Services - LMFC
Senior Vice President, Traverse City Market Manager

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

We would all agree we are in a period of individual and corporate deleveraging. Most of us agree as a society, we have too much debt, too much consumption, and not enough savings. We have also relied on low cost debt and are learning the process of paying back debt is much more difficult (and much less fun) than simply borrowing. This process is not new for our country or our economy. This article puts this process in a global and historical perspective and helps to explain what may be in our future. 



Current media and press reporting  seem to relish in betting on America’s demise and compare us to England in the early twentieth century and Rome before it. Our society and economy continue to have real strength and competitive advantages – good rule of law, stable politics, competitive global businesses, good demographics, and a many lasting physical advantages. This article discusses this topic in a greater global and historical context. It also outlines reasons for optimism in a noisy world.

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.



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