Archive for October, 2011

I Believe in Miracles

Unlike some taking to the streets lately, I like banks.  I like the idea of depositing my paycheck and having the assurance that the money is there when I need it.  I like using my debit card, even if there are sometimes fees attached.

But some things banks do make no sense.

After leasing for 17 years, we had just started building when terrorists attacked the U.S.in September of 2001.  Our company had grown considerably during the 90’s, and our space needs grew as well.  After the trauma of a move in early 2002 we were nicely situated in our new digs; thankfully, we had had considerable work to carry us through the winter. 

By April, however, it was a different story.  Here we were in a brand new building – with a brand new (and fairly large) mortgage – and Michigan’s economy began to tank.  T. L. Hart could hardly buy a job and was over-staffed.  And so became the saga of a long and painful decline in revenues and net worth with the resulting down sizing.

Fast forward to January 2010:  our long and friendly relationship with our local bank turns adversarial when a loan officer whom we have never met shows up at our door and informs us that the bank is calling our loans, all of them – two separate mortgages and two commercial loans.  Without using the words he essentially told my wife and I to file bankruptcy immediately.

By that time we had become quite unshakable.  We had already lost virtually everything we had gained from 1985-2001 but were not giving up; what we had left was our personal integrity.  Bankruptcy was not an option. 

It is amazing how trials can strengthen your resolve.  We were determined to see the thing through regardless of how long it took.  Even though we had never missed a payment on any of the notes, we were being rewarded by the threat of having what assets we had left stripped from us.

We decided to exercise our faith – and hire a good attorney. Both paid off.

Within nine months we witnessed a vast majority of our debt dissipate.  Yes, the bank took our properties, but they not only forgave the deficiencies (mortgage balance minus market value), they also forgave our commercial loans.  By the end of 2010 we had not only enjoyed one of our best profit years ever, but saw what had been liabilities drop directly to the bottom line. 

Miracles do happen – even in the corporate world.  God is good.  I believe in miracles.

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