Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 2015 - Monroe Bank & Trust Video Blog and Economic Update

We're excited to reintroduce the Monroe Bank & Trust CARES Blog, now in video format. This video blog features a thoughtful monthly update about our regional economy, legislative impact on financial topics, MBT outreach in our communities and insights into managing your finances. Segments will feature MBT experts and will be hosted by Monroe Bank & Trust President & CEO, Doug Chaffin.

We hope that you will find these interesting and informative, and that you will share them with your friends and colleagues via social media or by free subscriptions. It’s easy – just enter your email address or click on the Share on Facebook icon.

View the April 2015 Monroe Bank & Trust Video Blog and Economic Update. This month's video highlights MBT Mortgages. Hear about the mortgage outlook for Southeast Michigan and learn about the new MBT Mortgage Office located in Downtown Monroe. Featuring Doug Chaffin, President and CEO, Vicki Franzen, Senior Vice President Group Services Manager and Aaron Mason, Vice President Mortgage Department Manager.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Focus on our Customers: Monroe Bank & Trust Wealth Management Group – Powerful, Personalized Performance

This series of original articles focuses on our local business customers, employees and other areas of interest to our communities including local initiatives and non-profit organizations. We hope that you will find these interesting and informative, and that you will share them with your friends and colleagues via social media or by free subscriptions. It’s easy – just enter your email address or click on the Share on Facebook icon.

Monroe Bank & Trust’s mission is to be “the premier independent provider of financial services in each of the communities we serve”. Our mission is our passion and since our inception in 1858, we have constantly striven to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers, employees and our communities.

Nowhere is this more evident than with our Wealth Management Group. Formed in 1942, the group has steadily grown to become the sixth largest Michigan based asset management provider responsible for $710 Million, and a trusted resource for financial guidance.

Our philosophy is simple and straight forward, and is the basis for our success: we provide each client with powerful, personalized performance.

We support this philosophy through three basic principles that set us apart from other financial services providers – large or small.

First, we select, hire and nurture experienced people. Second, we structure the Wealth Management Group to deliver service through a team approach. Third, we utilize a proprietary process for research and investment management.

We are proud to attract talented and experienced individuals to our Wealth Management team which is comprised of 26 seasoned and credentialed professionals including attorneys, Masters of Business Administration degree holders (MBAs), Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs), Certified Trust and Financial Advisors (CTFAs) and Certified Retirement Services Professionals (CRSPs)>.

The level of experience and professionalism of our team enables us to ensure that all of our clients work with individuals with over ten years of experience – no matter what the size of their portfolio. Other institutions generally assign their seasoned advisors to clients based on account size and often have limited staff or 800 number service for those with smaller portfolios. We guarantee that all of our clients have regular contact with their advisors – whether it’s, monthly quarterly or semi-annually. Our client-driven approach is an important element of the service we provide and is essential to our success.

Additionally, we manage assets that are held in trust accounts as well as assets held in other account types including IRAs. Portfolios range in size from $300,000 on up. Many institutions have increased their portfolio size requirements and manage smaller portfolios through a brokerage arm.

Our team approach to client service also ensures that our advisors have the time necessary to manage client accounts proactively. Each client works with a team that includes an administrator, portfolio manager and administrative assistant. We are thus able to respond very quickly to client needs and use our internal CARE process (which stands for Communicate, Ask Questions, Respond of Refer, and Enjoy the Results) as our model.

The MBT Wealth Management Group frequently works with trust accounts and often acts as the trustee, co-trustee or agent for the trustee. We ensure that our clients’ wishes are carried out both during their lifetime and afterward, and that the assets held in trust are managed according to the directives written in the trust documents. Additionally, we work with trust clients to properly execute strategies for wealth transfer to beneficiaries, alleviate issues which can arise within families and other beneficiaries, and perform tax filings and other administrative duties appropriately and in a timely fashion.

The group also manages the estate settlement process, including the valuation, disposition and distribution of assets according to the wishes of the deceased or the courts. We provide impartial dispute resolution and objective decision making.

Many investors often don’t realize the difference between a broker and the MBT Wealth Management Group, for example. It is important to understand that trust administration requires a fiduciary, and acting in a fiduciary capacity is the highest level of responsibility. All accounts at MBT Wealth Management are managed to a fiduciary standard. Brokers must fulfill a suitability standard which, while high, is often more subjective. Additionally, brokers are typically commission based as opposed to fee based arrangements.

Finally, the Wealth Management Group offers a top performing proprietary process for selecting equity and fixed income investment options, including personal contact with the companies in which we invest. This enables us to tailor a portfolio to a client’s specific needs and to constantly monitor the performance. We don’t just rely upon “canned” research, but are actively analyzing economic data and information. Thus, we are always planning for the long term needs of our clients and their families.

Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Investments stated, “We never try to ‘time the market’. Our core philosophy on investing is that it be consistent. We offer model portfolios or customized plans for clients based upon their needs. Our internal research is crucial to this effort – and our clients appreciate it. We are consistent in the methodology we use to build portfolios and to adjust to market conditions.”

Audrey Mistor, Executive Vice President and Wealth Management Group Manager added that “we treat all of our clients as first-class customers – not coach. Clients can rely upon the fact that they will always be working with seasoned, experienced professionals with solid credentials and expertise. Our clients know that we are accessible, that we follow through, and that we are proactive. We are, indeed, trusted advisors.”

For further information, visit the MBT Wealth Management Group on the web at or call 800-321-0032 to meet with an advisor. Experience our powerful, personalized performance first hand!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Focus on our Customers: Home Builders Association of Monroe County – Think Spring! Visit the Home Improvement Show!

This series of original articles focuses on our local business customers, employees and other areas of interest to our communities including local initiatives and non-profit organizations. We hope that you will find these interesting and informative, and that you will share them with your friends and colleagues via social media or by free subscriptions. It’s easy – just enter your email address or click on the Share on Facebook icon!

The Home Builders Association of Monroe County (HBA) is gearing up for their 32nd annual Home Improvement Show that kicks off at the MBT Expo Center at the Monroe County Fairgrounds on Friday, February 28 at 5 pm.

According to this year’s co-chairs Karen Essary of Exciting Windows and Amanda Phebus of Monroe Bank & Trust, the event will be more exciting than ever!

“We expect about 2,000 people to attend,” Essary stated. “It’s a fantastic place for people who are looking to remodel or maybe build a new home to view products like flooring, cabinets, windows, doors, closets, window treatments and more – all under one roof. We expect to have over 70 vendors displaying their goods and offering ideas. It’s a great place to get creative input.”

Phebus agrees and added, “There is truly something for everyone, with food available for attendees, face painting and balloons for children and great seminars lined up. It’s really a fun family day. Best of all, tickets are available for free from any of our sponsors including the Monroe Publishing Company, Durocher’s, Hasset Title Company and Monroe Bank & Trust. Free tickets are also available from HBA Members and Show Exhibitors. Parking is free and if people want to purchase tickets at the door, they are only $5.00.”

Exhibitors include Jack’s Lawn Service, Exciting Windows, LaRoy Door, Advance Plumbing of Monroe, Durocher’s, David G. Swartout Builder, Kirk Wylie Masonry, Monroe Dodge, Stanford Allen Chevrolet, and Finisher’s Unlimited, among many others.

Bill Kipf, Executive Officer of the HBA and a realtor with Coldwell Banker/Haynes Real Estate, explained that the show was held at several locations in past years including the Monroe Multi-Sports Complex, Monroe County Community College and the Monroe County Fairgrounds before moving to the relatively recently constructed MBT Expo Center.

“The HBA membership base is comprised of builders, suppliers, subcontractors and other professionals affiliated with the building and remodeling industry,” Kipf stated. “The purpose of the association is to promote the building industry and the welfare of those affiliated with it; to help members become more professional by educating members and the public; to work for the benefit of the public via government representation and consumer education; and to provide services to members and function as a central source of information for members and the public, thereby gaining their respect and trust.

“We’re dedicated to high moral and ethical standards in our industry, and to keeping housing affordable for consumers by being sure our members are licensed and insured and by trying to prevent unnecessary regulations that increase the cost of housing and don’t provide a benefit. We always recommend that people who are looking for builders, remodelers or other home improvement specialists check our website for our members at It’s a good source of information.”

In addition to major exhibitors, the show will also feature products and services available from home-based businesses. “That’s a plus because often people aren't aware of the home-based resources available to them in the community,” Essary explained. “It’s exciting because we feature anything and everything people could want for indoor and outdoor living. And our vendors and exhibitors find that it’s a fantastic opportunity to attract potential customers.”

“We’re also featuring a drawing for a top-of-the-line Weber grill and many of our vendors and exhibitors also offer prizes and drawings,” Phebus added. “Plus we will have three presentations each day on both Saturday and Sunday. Sherman Williams will offer a painting demonstration from 11:30 am until 12:30 pm, and the Monroe County Community College culinary arts students will host a healthy grilling demonstration from 1:00 pm until 2:30 pm. What a culinary delight! At 3:00 pm each day there will be a “Talking Trees” presentation by Davey Tree Service. This seminar is all about fertilizer and nutrient management for landscapes and reducing pest problems through best management practices in the landscape.”

The Monroe Art League is also planning a display at the show and area High School students will exhibit woodworking projects.

In addition to hosting the Home Improvement Show, the HBA is very involved with other community-based projects. “We are planning to partner with Monroe County Community College to help develop curriculum for the building trades and to provide insight,” Kipf stated. “We also co-sponsor the student home design contest with the Monroe Fine Arts Council. The winner’s design is actually constructed for Habitat for Humanity. We then work with Monroe High School students and the construction technology classes to help students with the build.

“Part of our mission is education and we take that very seriously. We want home buyers and owners to be knowledgeable. Additionally, we want to help each other as business owners to be successful. We provide support for our membership and the public.”

“We hope that everyone will come and enjoy the show, meet our vendors and exhibitors, and have a great day. After all, you never know when you might need a plumber or need to remodel a room or a whole house,” Phebus concluded.

The  show will be open on Friday, February 28 from 5 pm to 7 pm, as well as Saturday, March 1 from 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday, March 2 from 11 am to 5 pm. The MBT Expo Center is located at 3775 South Custer Road in Monroe, Michigan.

Visit the HBA online at and on Facebook at

ATTENTION EXHIBITORS: It’s not too late to reserve a space! Check the HBA website today for more information or contact Bill Kipf at 734-770-3529.