Wisconsin Bank Rescues Abandoned Business

Independent Banker, February 2000 | Go to article overview

Wisconsin Bank Rescues Abandoned Business


When, out of the blue and virtually overnight, Control Products Corp. found itself in a financial bind after its big-box bank threatened to freeze its crucial credit line, Grafton State Bank in Grafton, Wis., came to the rescue.

It's a story routinely repeated all across the country, where community banks help customers through bad times along with the good.

"We're a contract manufacturer and as such are prone to cyclical ups and downs," explained Bruce Duncan, Control Products' owner. "We had recently lost some business that moved back to Europe and ended up with a significant downturn in our revenue, which just destroyed our bottom line."

But instead of waiting for things to pick back up, the big bank that was financing Control Products suddenly decided that the company no longer fit its customer profile. The bank threatened to freeze Control Products' line of credit, the day before payday. The company relies on its credit line to fund a portion of its payroll.

That's when Grafton State Bank stepped in to help the company. "While the company was able to negotiate a two-week stay before its line would be closed," said Jeff Larson, Grafton State Bank's vice president of commercial lending, "we met with the company, and within two weeks put together a financing package to completely pay the other bank off."

Control Products had been a long-time customer of Grafton State Bank. When Control Products' previous owner retired, however, the new one, Duncan, took the company's business to a larger bank, which was later bought out by an even larger bank. The switch came after Control Products needed financing over Grafton State Bank's lending limit, which required the bank to participate out some of the growing company's credit.

Obviously, the move to streamline Control Products' finances didn't work in the long run, Duncan admitted. The company is back with Grafton State Bank. "[Grafton State Bank] looked beyond the numbers," he said. "It looked at the character and the integrity of the people involved [in the business]." Marion branch.

Heritage Bank in McLean, Va., announced its new management team. Terrie G. Spiro was named president and CEO. …

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