“Pulse Insights reports that financial institution employees spend up to 90% of their time on non-value-added activities. Regulations and compliance take a huge amount of time, and Strobl & Sharp, PC can help with this issue. The firm can also assist in addressing regulatory disputes with the FDIC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB),” said Tom Strobl, co-founder and managing partner. “We see the many new rules generated by CFPB under the Dodd-Frank Act as challenges in 2015. A recent CFPB decision on debt collections raises concerns. If banks don’t ensure the files they send out for debt collections are 100% accurate, they may face unwanted litigation and expensive fines.”
Bank Mergers and Acquisitions Increase
“Mergers and acquisitions have increased for banks and other businesses. Experts predict 2014 will have a record number of bank deals, pushed in part by the need to spread the costs of regulatory compliance over a larger asset base,” said John Sharp, one of the firm founders. “We have managed many acquisitions, sales and mergers of banks (both public and private), and we have assisted in the purchase and sales of branches. Our firm has broad business experience, so in addition to banking law issues, we’re able to advise banks on issues like the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which may apply if bank or branch sales will result in loss of employment or involve rehiring.”
Commercial Lending is Growing
“There is a growing confidence in the market, though underwriting standards remain tight. Right now apartments, senior housing, medical professional buildings and hotels are showing more activity than they have in years, according to partner and attorney Leslie Stein. “You really need to understand the business of both the bank and the borrower to document deals efficiently and carefully. We know that the only time a loan document really matters is when there is a problem, and we try to focus on documenting loans so that the bank has everything it needs if a default occurs — all the collateral and all of the remedies. I think our documentation expertise is why Strobl & Sharp was listed in the Crain’s Detroit Business 2014 Super Lawyers supplement as a top firm for expertise in Construction, Real Estate & Environmental Law.”
Michigan’s Reinvention of Incentives Spells Opportunity for Banks
“Michigan is enjoying a wonderful resurgence. Much of the progress is due to changes in the incentives available for driving growth. Previously, tax credits provided future savings; now credits provide immediate funding. Recently, we represented a lender on a hotel construction and end loan. It was a complicated deal with numerous tax credits and incentives that came to several million dollars — making the deal bankable,” said Pamela Ritter, partner and attorney. “Working with the third parties involved in administering incentives can be frustrating. We understand how to break through unnecessary delays and bureaucracy. Collaboration with the various agencies requires tactfully applying pressure to move a deal along. Our goal is to make closings happen.”
About our partners:
Partner and Attorney, Pam Ritter, advises community, regional and national financial institutions. She specializes in banking law, creditors’ rights and real estate. She is known for her work with structuring, negotiating and documenting commercial loans, loan modifications, workout resolutions and litigation.
John Sharp, co-founder and attorney, focuses the majority of his practice on representing financial institutions in the areas of banking and securities, as well as real estate and general business. His expertise spans initial public offerings, loan and lease documentation, workouts, bank and branch sales and acquisitions, tax opinions for securities transactions, and formation of de novo banks.
Attorney, Leslie Stein, the firm’s newest partner, focuses on the representation of secured creditors in loan originations, business bankruptcy, reorganization and workouts, and mergers and acquisitions. She has over 34 years of banking, secured transactions and bankruptcy legal experience and has been rated by her peers as one of Michigan’s best bank advisors.
Tom Strobl, co-founder and managing shareholder of the firm, started his career as a commercial lender and chairs the business and banking practice groups. Highly regarded by his peers, he serves as outside general counsel to many privately held companies and advises them on all aspects of business law, including commercial, corporate, real estate and tax matters.