Financial solutions let Chicago-area companies realize big plans

With the need for infrastructure creation and improvement increasing around the world, business is growing for Daco Inc., a North Aurora-based manufacturer of precision machined components for the on- and off-highway automotive market, and that growth required new machinery on the floor at Daco’s facility. FirstMerit was there for the company with loans and operating leases to help Daco meet its customers’ global demands. “At FirstMerit, I feel like a real person and a real customer as opposed to some institutions where decisions about your business are made far away by people you’ve never met and to whom you have no access,” says Bruce Lindgren, president of Daco Inc. “We were with another bank when the economy slowed several years ago,” says Lindgren. “The downturn put a lot of stress on our relationship with them. It was a good time to look for a new banking relationship and FirstMerit’s people really stood out.” Working with Mark Monson, vice president of Commercial Banking, Lindgren has developed a strong relationship that has the flexibility to grow along with Daco.

“We know them, and they know us,” says Lindgren. “It’s a pretty flat organization in that I know I have accessibility to FirstMerit’s upper management.” He also points to FirstMerit’s financial strength in a market where many other banks have posted large operating losses. “As a customer, a bank’s distress becomes my distress. I know I’m dealing with a strong and successful bank with FirstMerit.”

That strength may be assisting Daco in other ways, too. Not only has the company financed its manufacturing growth through FirstMerit’s Commercial Banking expertise, it is talking with the bank’s wealth management area about employee 401(k) products.

New Business Means New Equipment
With its 40-year anniversary coming up in July 2012, Elk Grove Village-based Arc-Tronics Inc. is entering a time of exceptional growth. The company specializes in the engineering, designing and manufacturing of high-reliability, life safety custom printed circuit boards and electromechanical and cable/harness assembly products. New business prospects led the company to open a new facility in Mexico while installing new equipment in its existing Elk Grove Village facility, says Michael Goeringer, president of Arc-Tronics.

“The Federal Aviation Administration is changing over from radar detection to GPS equipment, which uses our printed circuit boards,” he says. “We added 11 new customers in 2011 and anticipate a 25 percent increase in business in 2012. All of this required $2.5 million in capital equipment purchases including state-of-the art surface mount equipment, 3D X-ray equipment and automated process inspection systems. FirstMerit was able to help us finance the equipment needed to handle product expansion and overall business growth.”

At the same time it was working on its new Mexico plant, Arc-Tronics added 60 jobs at its Elk Grove Village facility. “We are a family business,” Goeringer says. “I have two brothers and a sister heavily involved in this company. Our intent is for the new facility to complement our existing facility. Strengthening our foundation is an essential component to our expansion strategy for North America.

Arc-Tronics had been a customer of Midwest Bank and Trust, which FirstMerit acquired in 2010. Through the acquisition and integration to FirstMerit, Goeringer has developed what he calls an engaged relationship with the bank. “We build engaged relationships with our customers and we feel we have that with our bank, too,” he says. Currently, Goeringer and rolling off the line in March of 2012, will start at a rate of approximately 40 units per month,” he says. “This should increase to as many as 130 units each month and we need to have the materials on hand to meet that demand.”