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We are proud to once again support The Salvation Army's Annual Red Wings alumni hockey game benefiting their Bed & Bread Program on January 25.

Read more about the program and how you can help by reading Toby Dahm's latest blog.
Commercial Finance - Where is it Headed?
Toby Dahm
For the past eight years, I have made it a priority to attend the annual convention of the Commercial Finance Association (CFA). With over 1,000 attendees (many from outside of the U.S.), it provides a great opportunity to hear what's happening in the asset-based lending and factoring world.

This year's convention was perhaps the most informative that I've attended. The lending environment is more challenging than it has been in recent memory. Supply and demand is in the borrowers' favor, which has been the case for the past couple of years. Yield compression began years ago and is continuing throughout the entire lending industry. Loan structure has also become very aggressive and it appears that competitive pressure will drive this further.  

Lenders are taking differing approaches to this difficult market. Many state that they will not waiver from their historical lending standards and anticipate a low growth/no growth environment and will ride the storm out. These firms are concentrating primarily on expense management and improving efficiency. Other firms are prepared to take calculated risks in situations where they feel the risk/reward is warranted. This will amount to stretching advance rates. A third category of lenders are seeking areas where growth opportunities exist.  

Once such area is cross border financing. Some of the factors driving this growth include: (1) the continuing increase in the volume of international trade which has now become a significant activity for small- and medium-sized businesses and (2) a shift toward open credit terms in international trade. Traditional credit enhancement methods such as letters of credit and credit insurance are predicted to become less acceptable to trading parties... Continue Reading.
Hitachi Business Finance Expands Presence in Greater Ohio, Kentucky
Hitachi Business Finance has welcomed MJ Hilker to their team as Regional
Senior Vice President, Business Development. She will focus on building the company's presence in Ohio, Kentucky, and Western Pennsylvania.
MJ Hilker
Hilker maintains an office in Cleveland and brings more than 25 years of experience in financing and investing in growing companies. Most recently, she was with Great Lakes Business Credit, where she served as Regional Marketing Director. Hilker also worked at Corporate Management Solutions helping clients refinance, restructure, and obtain bank financing. During her career, she has successfully piloted business development at Great Lakes Business Credit, First Capital, and Summit Financial Resources.  

She can be contacted at mjhilker@hitachibusinessfinance.com or (216) 479-6862.

Professional Partner Spotlight: The LEE Group, MI LLC 

Established in 2008, The LEE Group (TLG), MI LLC is a marketing consulting firm focused on providing thought leadership for clients in the areas of strategic marketing, planning, branding/re-branding, integrated marketing communications and training and development.
Lee Group
TLG works with stage I and stage II organizations who are interested in growing their business. Additionally, TLG works with c-suite executives by providing strategic direction and recommendations focused on adapting in a changing market.


TLG's recommendations are focused on delivering results based on the client's expectations and needs and, to this end, TLG implements a five-step process:
  • DEFINE the best strategy to influence the target audience(s) to the desired action
  • RESEARCH media usage patterns among the desired audience
  • SELECT the marketing mediums that will best facilitate the marketing objectives and messaging strategy
  • DEVELOP an appropriate IMC message communication strategy with consideration to the above factors
  • MONITOR & EVALUATE the impact of IMC execution and trends for future additions and improvements
Through critical thinking practices, The LEE Group can translate marketing objectives into effective strategies focused on addressing an ever-changing market.

Website: www.leegroupinnovation.com

Contact: Mark S. Lee at mark@leegroupinnovation.com

The State of Small Biz in 2014? The Sky's The Limit. Sort of.

Sky's the Limit.jpg In the face of squabbling lawmakers, a government that seems to close for business every month or so, and an on-edge economy, two guys at our recent Inc. 5000 Conference are telling a different story: optimism and opportunity!

The CEOs of the 5000 fastest-growing companies in the country are hugely bullish. In an exclusive survey of recent Inc. 5000 founders and CEOs, 37 percent characterized their business prospects as "excellent." Another 45 percent said their prospects were "good... Continue Reading.
Middle Market Expects to Create One Million New Jobs in 2014

New Jobs in 2014

The nation's 200,000 middle market businesses are an economic engine driving the U.S. recovery, growing revenue at a rate of five percent during 2013, which was five times higher than the S&P 500. According to the latest quarterly Middle Market Indicator (MMI), mid-sized firms grew employment last year faster than small and large companies at a rate of 2.5 percent, which created 1.2 million jobs. The MMI also revealed that mid-market executives believe... Continue Reading 
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