We help our members purchase and improve their homes through our home loan program, but we wanted to find another way to give back to the people who live in our state.
“Lake Trust is amazing! Thank you so much for all of your support to our mission. We are humbled by your generosity and consider you a valued partner in coming together with us to end homelessness.”
-Kari Nies, Humble Design Development Manager
Operating as a social purpose company means finding new ways to help our members and our communities. So, in July 2019, we kicked off a unique home loan campaign. Members who closed a home loan with us received $100 or $250 from us to help with expenses and we donated another $100 or $250 (depending on the loan type) to one of six nonprofits in Michigan with a focus on housing.
By choosing us for their home loan needs, our members helped us accumulate a total donation of $57,850 to support Michigan nonprofits. In February 2020, we surprised Isabella County Restoration House in Mt. Pleasant, City Rescue Mission in Lansing, Love in Action in Grand Haven, Humble Design of Pontiac, Washtenaw County Shelter Association in Ann Arbor and LACASA in Howell with a $9,642 donation each. Together, we supported those in need and helped Michigan feel a little more like home for everyone.
Business loans typically started at high dollar amounts, but sometimes small businesses just need a little funding to get by or get started. How could we meet this need?
“Providing these small businesses this much-needed capital has a positive impact on their financial wellness that extends to the communities where they live and work through job creation and economic development.”
–Andrea Mosher, Senior Vice President of Lending
With our Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) grant in place, we piloted our new micro business loan program early in the year. We discovered a need for business financing under $50,000 after learning that many business owners personally take on the cost of starting or expanding their business. This debt is often financed on credit cards and poses potentially damaging risks to personal credit. From a community well-being perspective, we also knew that empowering entrepreneurs would add to the economic prosperity of Michigan neighborhoods and aid in job creation.
After two months of piloting, our micro business loans officially launched in April 2019.
We far exceeded our original goal of $500,000, proving that there is a great need for this type of funding in the business community. With the average micro business loan totaling $22,019, funding has been used to help business owners purchase new tools and equipment, renovate new business locations, and expand services.
When workers went on strike at a Detroit auto company, we came up with a creative solution to make sure our members were taken care of.
The auto industry went through a dramatic shift in the fall of 2019 when workers from GM went on strike for 40 days. During this time, workers were only provided with $250 a week in strike pay. Though we offer Skip-a-Pay for loan payments, we knew that our members might need additional funding beyond the amount they’d save from skipping a loan payment. We also wanted to take this opportunity to show other Michiganders that we actively look for ways to support individuals and families in our state, through good times and times of struggle too.
Several teams worked together to quickly roll out the new Life Impact Loan. This loan was created so members could borrow up to $4,000 to pay for everyday expenses during the short-term layoff. With a low interest rate and a 60-day payment deferment period, this option allowed people to take care their expenses without having to rely on credit cards. We heard many stories of gratitude from our members who appreciated the quick response.
After hearing so much positive feedback, we decided to implement this as a permanent product
Parker and Hope Perrien had found success in their business. Our Financial Life Planning team helped them find a new way to give back to their employees.
After three years of steady growth, Parker and Hope Perrien were looking for another way to improve their small business, Diamond Solutions. After starting out with just 4 employees in 2008, the company now has 27 employees and serves the entire state of Michigan. Seeing how hard their team works, the Perriens wanted to offer an option to continue supporting their staff after their working years.
Since Diamond Solutions already had a business relationship at Lake Trust, the Perriens reached out to us to see if we could help. Our Financial Life Planning team worked with Parker and Hope to help them set up a 401(k) option for their team. The new retirement plan includes a dollar-for-dollar match up to three and a half percent, as long as the employee contributes at least five percent.
“Everyone was appreciative and understood the heart behind making Diamond Solutions a better place to work,” said Parker.
After rolling out the program in early 2020, 44% of employees have already signed up. This new option offers a great benefit for team members and their families and creates a sense of a more secure financial future for all.
Giving back to Michigan communities goes beyond sponsorships and donations. We look for ways to support schools, affordable housing projects, and public service organizations.
While we frequently give back to local causes through sponsorships and donations, we also support Michigan neighborhoods through our community investments. As of December 31, 2019, $36.2 million of our assets were focused on community impact lending, investments, and deposit products. This figure includes the deposits on hand from the 190 Michigan nonprofits who hold accounts with Lake Trust. By offering these organizations accounts with low fees, we’re able to help them save money that they can use to reinvest in community causes. The relationships that we’ve formed with our nonprofit members, like Bountiful Harvest and Volunteers of America, have also opened up new volunteer opportunities for our team.
As part of our community impact focus, we also support investments in municipal bonds that support schools, affordable housing projects, and public service organizations. These bonds make it possible for schools to expand and improve, local police departments get new vehicles, and renovations to happen at public universities. By supporting these initiatives, we’re able to play a role in creating stronger communities.
We’re happy to support Bountiful Harvest in Brighton, MI as a Lake Trust member and by volunteering our time at the nonprofit.
Cleary University has become a valued community partner who we work with each year to offer scholarships.
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