Make Time to Enjoy These Local Autumn Activities

Fall is one of the best times to get outdoors for some quality time with family and friends and there’s an abundance of fun fall activities in our local area to enjoy. From walking through rustling leaves on a nature trail, to finding treasures at craft shows and downtown shops, to cheering on young athletes at school sporting events, the fall season in southeastern Michigan has something for everyone.

Although the weather has been warm recently, the sure signs of fall are appearing! The leaves are changing color—and a new crop of delicious apples is coming into season, which means that apple picking, another favorite fall family activity is ready to enjoy at local orchards in Jackson County, Lenawee County and  Washtenaw County. If you’re ready to celebrate this year’s harvest season, here are a few of the area’s local farms and orchards you may want to visit:

In Jackson County—Meckley’s Flavor Fruit Farm was established more than 60 years ago. It is located at 11025 S. Jackson Road in Cement City, Michigan. This full “farm experience” truly has something for everyone, including an orchard, cider mill, farm tours, a bakery, plus a cidery and wine cellar. There’s even special live music events throughout the season.

In Lenawee County—Carpenter Farms in Adrian, Michigan is a place that’s perfect for making family memories. The working farm offers lots of fun activities during the fall season including a corn maze, hayrides and pumpkins, a petting farm and more. Plus, you can take a great family snapshot in their beautiful fall photo-staging display.

In Washtenaw County—Part farm, part orchard, part county fair—a trip to Wiard’s Orchard in Ypsilanti, Michigan adds up to a ton of family fun! Located at 5565 Merritt Road, you can plan to spend a full afternoon at Wiard’s to enjoy lunch and take in all of the amusements such as games, slides, the corn maize, tractor rides, pony rides, paintball and a trip through the haunted woods. Not to mention, you’ll want to spend time picking apples and pumpkins in the u-pick area and paying a trip to the country store featuring baked goods and more.

These favorite fall destinations are just a sampling of the outings that you and your family can enjoy in our local community. By exploring all of the fall activities and events in Jackson County, Lenawee County and  Washtenaw County you’ll make the most of one of the most beautiful times of year in southeast Michigan.

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Reinvesting in Our Community, One Organization at a Time

OSB’s President & CEO, Rick Northrup shares what’s at the heart of OSB’s passion for helping small businesses grow.

As a community bank, OSB understands what makes our neighborhoods, villages, and towns unique. We focus on lending to the small businesses and organizations that make us who we are.

A recent example illustrates this:

A charter school in our community was looking to grow and move into a new facility.  The school had been operating in a rental building and the administration wanted to own a building in order to control the school’s future and growth. Although the school and staff had been in operation locally for many years, the only financing available to them was from large, out-of-town financial institutions, which was expensive with very disadvantageous terms. The school could not afford this type of financing without inhibiting its growth. In fact, the school would have had serious financial struggles under the terms, placing its long-term success in jeopardy.

At OSB, we looked at the situation and found that the school’s students had very high academic results; the school’s staffing was strong and experienced; and the school also had committed parents. The building that the charter school wanted to purchase was an old elementary school, which would allow the school to double in size. At the time, the school was serving over 140 students, representing over 100 local families. The school and its plans made sense to us.

The team at OSB got to work, examining the school’s track record, business plan, staff, and education philosophy.  We also investigated the school’s collateral, learning about the potential for reestablishing a school there for the long-term, and understanding its value. When all was said and done, OSB offered a package of term loans and line of credit financing that allowed the school to meet its goals, without placing its financial future in jeopardy.

Since purchasing the building, the charter school has grown and is on track to double its size, as planned.  For the current academic year the school is serving over 200 students and 150 families. Soon the school expects to serve 300 students.

This is how OSB Community Bank reinvests in our community, making things better for all of us who share this little corner of the world—one organization at a time.

OSB’s Flexible Financing Creates Opportunity for Small Businesses

Ted Schork, Vice President, Commercial Banking at OSB shares how our community banking philosophy has helped one local business succeed.

“A key benefit of community banking for small businesses is our willingness and ability to be flexible in the financing solutions we offer. I was recently reminded of this when OSB had the opportunity to serve one of our long-term, residential mortgage clients who also operates a small, family-owned business which has been part of our community for more than twenty years.

The business is co-owned by a father and his son and daughter-in-law. It provides excavating, logging and trucking services. Earlier this year, one of the company’s main customers indicated that two of its other subcontractors would no longer be providing trucking services due to their retirement. This customer needed to find another subcontractor to take on the additional work and contracts. They offered this opportunity to our client.

To be able to capitalize on this opportunity, the client needed to purchase another semi-truck, a trailer and logging equipment for their business. They approached our commercial lending team with their financing needs and the desire to keep as much of their current cash position as possible for working capital. Typically, a loan requires using a good portion of cash as equity or a down payment. Instead, OSB worked with this client to utilize the equity in their other vehicles and equipment to structure a loan that met their needs.

Creativity and flexibility in OSB’s approach to commercial lending helped to create a “win-win” situation and the ability to honor our commitment of serving our clients for the long haul.”

SBA Loans Provide Alternative Funding Options to Fuel Local Business Growth

Matthew J. Chrome, Senior Vice President, Chief Credit Officer, at OSB shares how SBA loans can help local small businesses grow, as we recognize National Small Business Week.

Over the course of my 20-plus years in banking, I have found that when working with small businesses, it is often necessary to look beyond conventional commercial loans in order to help fund their growth. The government’s Small Business Administration loans are often an ideal option that a community bank like OSB can access for its small business customers.

I recall two particularly poignant examples of using SBA loans to fund small business clients—one at the beginning of my career and one not too long ago.

In the first example, I learned about the power of SBA loans as I worked with a more senior lender who was trying to structure a loan for a minority-owned, fledgling business to buy or build a new building for their headquarters.  The business had some warts in its financial statements, including friendly debt and stagnant lines of credit. These are things that are commonly found with small, growing businesses. By looking outside of traditional lending options, this commercial lender found opportunity in the SBA 504 program.

The bank took on 90 percent of the construction loan to build the new headquarters, and the Economic Development Corporation took on 40 percent of the end loan exposure, leaving the bank with a 50 percent advance on the end loan. This alternative funding option gave a small, cash-strapped (but growing) business the money it needed to build a new headquarters—and the company is still performing well, 21 years later.

More recently, I was able to structure a series of SBA loans to support a prominent, growing restaurant business that wanted to expand further. The business has a track record of sufficient cash flow and is a consistent supporter of the community, but it does not have the collateral needed to support a conventional commercial loan with the bank.  Their significant shortage of collateral would normally stop the commercial loan process, but the SBA 7A loan program provided a government guarantee to the bank, in case of loan default, encouraging the bank to make the loan.

For small, growing businesses, having access to capital can make all the difference when it comes to achieving the next level of success. However, many businesses may have sufficient cash flow, but not enough collateral to qualify for traditional commercial loans. Or, they may have had some debt issues or some past financial misfortune that puts a blemish on their financial records. This can leave them limited in their ability to move ahead—unless they work with a lender who can offer some non-traditional financing options, like SBA loans.

OSB’s Business Manager Can Help Your Business Accelerate Cash Flow

Businesses of all sizes need to have access to working capital in order to operate and grow. OSB Business Manager makes it easy for businesses to increase their cash flow by providing much-needed working capital for your receivables. By bridging the gap between your payables due now and the receivables your customers won’t remit for 30 days or more, our Business Manager program positions your company to leverage growth opportunities, offer extended credit terms, take advantage of supplier discounts, and reduce debt.

OSB’s unique Business Manager program allows your business to operate with confidence and receive cash deposits in its operating account every time an invoice is submitted, giving you quick access to the money you are owed—regardless of whether you receive payment in 30, 60, or 90 days.

By using OSB’s Business Manager your cash flow will be accelerated, so you don’t have to worry about having funds available to make payroll, staff appropriately, purchase new equipment, upgrade technology or meeting other needs related to growing your business or seizing new growth opportunities. You will also be able to take advantage of potential vendor discounts for upfront or cash payment, volume purchases, and timely payments.

Business Manager is Different from Invoice Factoring
While you may have heard of, or even used a program that sounds somewhat similar to Business Manager (perhaps something that may have been referenced as “invoice factoring”), be assured that this service is very different—and provides significantly more benefits to your business in terms of lower costs, flexibility, and the ability to maintain direct contact you’re your clients. There are additional benefits that make Business Manager a better alternative for most businesses including:

  • Lower fixed costs and no additional fees or APR financing charges.
  • Acceptance of invoices with longer payment terms.
  • More frequent funding (daily vs. weekly)
  • No intermediary to deal with—you work directly with OSB.
  • No long term contracts or cancellation penalties.
  • Maintenance of your client relationships and retention of the collection process stays with your business—your customers never deal with us, just you.
  • Your business retains billing ownership—only the remittance address changes to that of the bank.

Business Manager Works for Businesses of All Sizes in a Diverse Range of Industries OSB’s Business Manager program is designed to meet the needs of businesses in a wide range of industries, all with their own unique needs.

Here’s an example of how the program supports the day-to-day operations and growth of one type of business: A mid-size trucking company that wants to leverage new market opportunities but has limited working capital to support its growth. With the Business Manager program as a debt free receivables financing solution, the company can access higher line limits and higher advance rates. This benefits the business by accelerating its cash flow, allowing it to add additional trucks and take on additional contracts without worrying about the extra working capital needed to cover the increased payroll and fuel expense. As a result, the business has increased sales by 300 percent in two months and continues to pursue additional growth opportunities.

Position Your Business for the Future with Help from OSB’s Business Manager Program

More information about Business Manager can be found online. Our business banking team is also happy to answer any questions you may have about using our Business Manager program to help your business access needed working capital and take advantage of future growth opportunities. Contact us today.

The Best Online Tools for Managing Your Money

9314For many of us, balancing a physical checkbook has become a thing of the past. However, we still need to keep track of our money. Yet, it can be challenging to keep track of our expenses and multiple bank, credit card, and investment accounts—especially when we’re on the go. So, if you are looking for a simple way to keep track of your personal finances, you may want to consider some of OSB’s electronic financial management tools. Using these tools can not only help you stay organized, but also provide you with insight into your spending patterns which can also help you budget and manage your money more effectively.

OSB Mobile Banking App
As an OSB customer, one of the first financial management apps you should consider is our own Mobile Banking smart phone app which helps you manage your deposit and loan accounts without having to be at a computer or one of our branches. The OSB Mobile Banking app allows you to view account balances and your recent transaction history; transfer funds between accounts; pay bills; and find ATM and branch locations.
The app also features Text Banking which allows you to view account activity via texting short codes for even quicker access to account information. For example, texting “B” will reply with your current account balance.
In addition, with the OSB Mobile Banking app you can sign up for Notify Me Alerts which send text or email notifications about your account status, check and deposit clearing activity, or if your balances rise or fall below an established threshold. You can also receive notifications about account-specific security information.

Personal Finance Manager
OSB’s Personal Finance Manager is a web-based financial management dashboard that allows you to consolidate and track financial information from your all of your online banking accounts. With Personal Finance Manager, you can create a comprehensive view of all of your financial relationships in one secure place—making money management easy.

This tool allows you to link your online banking accounts (even those not at OSB), to create budgets and track spending, as well as managing debt. Personal Finance Manager can also be used to help manage business accounts and financial information. In fact, if you own a business, you can incorporate all of your business and personal accounts into one dashboard view, giving you a complete picture of your finances.

Don’t Forget to Manage Your Credit, Too
The above web-based tools are effective for managing your accounts and overall spending. Remember, keeping an eye on your credit is also important. In addition to the big three credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), there are several other subscription-based credit monitoring options on the market such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame that provide your credit score and recent activity, such as credit account balances, inquiries, and other data.
Using an app to get a handle on your personal finances can be a smart move, and apps can make it easier to manage your money when you travel and when you have many accounts at different institutions. One last tip: If you do decide to use one or more apps listed in this article, or you use a different one, be sure that the devices that you use to access your apps are password-protected to keep your sensitive personal and financial information safe.