Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez

Senior writer, covers health care, finance and life sciences. Twitter: @masanche

Independent Bank Corp. got off to what President and CEO Brad Kessel called a “solid start” in 2019 with slightly higher earnings.

What began as a way for a software developer to keep families and friends updated on his daughter’s condition became a business opportunity for Open System Technologies Inc. in the health care industry. After a year-long pilot with Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids-based OST has begun to pitch the CareCircle service to health systems across the U.S., starting with the more than 100 hospitals that are already clients.

A venture capital fund led by women investors to back women-owned startups has raised $4.5 million so far toward a $20 million goal. Belle Michigan Impact Fund LP has attracted 57 investors to date, including its first institutional investor in Toronto-based Canadian Imperial Bank Corp.

United Federal Credit Union plans to buy a former Whirlpool Corp. office building in St. Joseph for its new corporate headquarters.

Mercantile Bank Corp. began 2019 with higher earnings and strong loan growth that it expects to continue through the year.

Venture capital funds based in Michigan more than doubled the amount they invested in startups in 2018, although the money went to fewer companies.

Add the contaminant PFAS to the checklist of issues prospective buyers need to consider when acquiring a business. Buyers need to make PFAS part of due diligence in an acquisition, particularly in industries that have a history of products involving the family of chemicals, said attorney Dan Parmeter, a partner at the Grand Rapids office of Mika Meyers PLC.

Four medical schools in Michigan partnered to direct new physicians into areas of the state that are underserved or have a shortage of physicians. Backed by a $5 million budget allocation that the four institutions matched with $1.25 million apiece, the medical schools each placed two additional medical residents this year to train and work in medically underserved areas of Michigan.

The insurance industry in Michigan grew by double digits over a 13-year period and remains poised to grow even more with the cluster of talent based in the state. Those were among the conclusions in a new report that for the first time offers a broad look at the state’s insurance industry, which in 2018 accounted for 4.6 percent of Michigan’s gross domestic output, directly employed more than 80,000 people, and supported another 58,000 jobs indirectly through the purchase of goods and services.

PORTAGE — In the past, First United Credit Union would consider doing a business loan when a member asked about it. Now, after signing on last year with a Portage firm, the small Grandville credit union takes a slightly more proactive approach toward business lending to members.

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