Monthly Archives: February 2021

Local Business Transactions

Despite the pandemic, large corporate transactions are thankfully still taking place.  In this article we take a look at two that involve local companies: ATG Trust and OppFi.

First, Effingham based Midland States Bancorp is to enter into a transaction in which it will purchase Chicago’s ATG Trust — a company established in 1998 initially as an Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. subsidiary by Dennis Norden in Kankakee – offers its clients a variety of estate and trust-related services and today has $387 million in assets under management and an approximate yearly revenue of $3.5 million.

CEO and President of Midland States Bancorp, Jeffrey Ludwig explained:

“Over the past several years, we have effectively utilized acquisitions to grow our assets under administration, better leverage our wealth management platform, and add expertise in specialized areas. [AMG Trust] “will further increase the scale and diversification of our wealth management business, while adding new capabilities that will enhance our ability to attract new clients.”

Meanwhile, a “business combination agreement” has been developed between Opportunity Financial LLC (Oppfi) and FG New America Acquisition Corporation (FGNA) this will lead to the former becoming a public company and will likely trade under the NYSE as OPFI when the contract is complete, which is planned to be at the end of Q2 2021.  Joe Moglia, Chairman of FGNA said:

“My team at FG New America and I are thrilled to announce this transaction with OppFi, as serving the financial needs of the everyday consumer is very much in our DNA. We have been highly impressed by the significant growth the OppFi team has achieved through their innovative platform and the proven ability to scale, all while faithfully serving their customers.”

This was echoed by Jared Kaplan, OppFi’s CEO who said

“OppFi is at the forefront of a high growth digital financial services revolution. We are a leading financial technology platform that powers banks through a multitude of products and our unwavering commitment to customer service. We’re tremendously proud of the team that has made our progress possible through a commitment to serving consumers excluded from the traditional system through fair, transparent products and an extraordinary customer experience. We see a solid opportunity ahead for OppFi to be the financial champion for the nearly 60 million everyday consumers in the U.S. as we continue to innovate our array of products, technology and capabilities in the years ahead. We are excited to be joining with the FGNA team to help make this a reality.”

Artists’ Funding

Additional federal funds are being requested from artists who work in the field nationwide.  In conjunction with the Be An Arts Hero campaign, workers in this industry purport that their endeavors invest more into the economy than agriculture and mining combined. According to Matthew-Lee Erlbach, a Chicago playwright:

“When we look at Illinois, it’s $30 billion in added value to Illinois’ economy, which is massive. It supports over 224,000 jobs in arts and culture. That’s people in front of the camera and on stage, to sound technicians to pyro technicians, engineers, puppeteers, museums docents, people who are working in broadcast, you name it. So when you look at all those jobs in Illinois, you really want to put an economic floor under them because if they go, that’s a huge chunk of Illinois’ economy that just evaporates.”

Over 200 artists have written letters as part of the campaign.  One of them is E. Faye Butler, a Goodman Theatre Chicago artist who said:

“Love us back a little bit. We need you. We need your support. We have families, homes. People have a misconception about artists as these wildflower people that roam the streets and don’t need money. We’re always thought of those without a job. People always look at us and go, ‘OK, so that’s fun. When are you going to get a job?’ This is a job. This is my life, and it’s hanging in the balance. For all of those arts workers out there, we need you. We’re independent contractors and we need your support. So fight for us.”

Should the Defend Arts Workers Now (DAWN) Act become law, artists and related businesses would receive grants valued at $43.8 billion.