Tag Archive for: Life Outside of Loans


Jaley Schultz Recognized as 2023 Service Scholarship Winner

In 2020 Michigan Mortgage introduced the Service Scholarships with the goal of recognizing High School Seniors who shared the dreams of pursuing a career in service.

Careers in service include:

  • Military
  • Teachers & Educators
  • Government & Politics
  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • First Responders
  • Doctors & Nurses

For 2023, we received dozens of applicants and reviewed each one closely. We learned about each students’ goals and aspirations, community service they completed, impacts they made in West Michigan, and how they plan to give back to those that need it most.

Our Scholarship Committee selected two West Michigan graduates that will receive $1,000 to further their education.

JaleyAfter much consideration, Michigan Mortgage is pleased to announce Jaley Schultz, 2023 North Muskegon High School graduate, as this year’s winner of the Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship.

Jaley said the following in her application.

“To me, service is about sacrificing your own needs and prioritizing the needs of others. Service is beautiful because those who aim to serve others aren’t searching for anything in return, acts of service are purely motivated by putting others before yourself. I have been a member of the Rotary Interact Club at my school since my freshman year, and this year, I have the privilege of being the president. Interact has taught me a variety of lessons and ideals regarding service, but my favorite is our club’s motto: ‘service above self.’ I feel that this quote embodies everything that I want to work toward in life. From my role as a daughter, friend, and student to my future career in the medical field, I will forever aim to epitomize ‘service above self.”

Jaley plans to attend the University of Michigan this fall. Her long-term career goal is to become a doctor or physician assistant, potentially specializing in pediatrics or obstetrics.

“I have been interested in the medical field for as long as I can remember,” Jaley said. “It perfectly combines my love for science and my passion for helping others. I have also grown up with many little cousins, which is the primary reason for my interest in pediatrics/obstetrics.”

“It is widely known that, for my desired career path, there are many steps to accomplish before you can officially enter the workforce,” she expressed. “Between undergraduate education, medical/PA school, and low-paying entry level positions, costs add up quickly. With the help of this scholarship, I can start off on the right track and focus more on my studies than on financial stressors.”

Congratulations, Jaley! We wish you continued success in your future endeavors.

Harbor Hospice

Hometown Highlights: Harbor Hospice

Harbor Hospice is much more than a place.

They are devoted to giving each family a gift when they need it most… quality of life for their patients when they are facing life’s greatest challenge.

For over 40 years, Harbor Hospice has been serving the greater Muskegon area with so much compassion and love as they focus on patient’s emotional and physical well-being.

Harbor HospiceMost of us have a loved one who has had the thoughtful and heartfelt care of Hospice.

Dame Cicily Saunders, founder of the first modern hospice summed up the mission of hospice:

“You matter because of who you are. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”

Here are a few things you might not know about our local Harbor Hospice.

  • Camp Courage, funded by Harbor Hospice, gives children that have lost a loved one, the opportunity to attend an amazing two-night camp! While at camp, the kids have all kinds of fun activities sprinkled in with master social workers that provide emotional support. For 21 years, this camp has been making a difference to up to 40 campers each summer.
  • The Cooking for One program gives 12 participants the opportunity to work with Chef Char to learn to cook for one. Participants have two nights of cooking instruction and learn to better manage their lives after suffering the loss of a loved one.
  • Hospice provides 13 months of bereavement to those individuals that have lost a loved one. They receive quarterly phone calls, opportunities for group meetings, and mailings. It is important to Hospice to provide support for caregivers and family managing the loss of a loved one.

All three of these programs are funded by local fundraising efforts. If you would like to support these programs what can you do?

Buy a ticket to one of their fundraising events, give a donation, like Harbor Hospice on Facebook, learn about being a corporate sponsor or sign up for their newsletter.

Make sure you go to www.harborhospicemi.org to learn more about their services. There are many myths around what Harbor Hospice does, when actually they provide many services that most of us are not aware of.

The Salvation Army

Hometown Highlights: The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is an organization dedicated to doing the most good they can in the communities they serve.

We had the pleasure of spending time with Grand Haven’s Major, Heather Holman, to learn more about the amazing things they do to provide assistance, support and hope to those in need of resources in our community. Over 100 years, they have been meeting the needs of our community with the love of Jesus Christ, without discrimination.

The Salvation ArmyOffering temporary housing, emergency social services, Youth, Men’s and Women’s ministries, and the pathway to Hope, they strive to work with individuals and families to give them the tools to get through hardships and difficult times.

The housing program offers temporary housing to families who are struggling with homelessness. This program is a faith-based emergency housing program which provides a safe and secure living arrangement while empowering families as they strive to find a positive housing destination through support, encouragement, and case management.

They provide the following emergency social services.

  • DHHS Assistance
  • Financial Assistance
  • Food Assistance
  • Seasonal Programs for Students
  • Winter Coat Closet
  • Vital Document Assistance

The goal through their Pathway of Hope is to help families overcome barriers like unemployment, unstable housing, and a lack of education by breaking the cycle of crisis and vulnerability, leading families down a path toward increased stability.

With the renovation and addition, the Salvation Army has added a gymnasium to continue its community outreach. There are pickleball drop-in times as well as basketball drop ins.

If you would like more information, would like to donate, or to find out about volunteer opportunities go to centralusa.salvationarmy.org/grandhaven.

Old Technology

Tips to Maintain a Good Credit Score

If you’re in the market for a new home, your credit score will determine whether or not you’re eligible. Your score will determine the loan program you qualify for and your interest rate. Your credit score may be the single most important asset you have.

You spend years building your score – here are a few tips to help you maintain it.

  1. Make your payments on time. According to experts, a large portion of your credit score (35 percent, to be exact) is calculated based on payment history. Making your payments on time (within 30 days of the due date), every time can greatly impact your score. This includes credit card bills or any loans you may have, such as auto loans or student loans, your rent, utilities, phone bill and so on.

Consider setting up autopay when it’s available so you don’t run the risk of missing payments.

  1. Keep your balances low. 30%. That’s the magic number! As soon as your credit card balance exceeds 30% of your credit limit, your credit score will decrease. Your score will continue to decrease until you bring your balance below the threshold.

Experts recommend that you pay off your entire balance every month. We know that’s not always realistic, but you should always at least make the minimum payment.

  1. Be cautious when opening new accounts. According to Experian, “Each application can lead to a hard inquiry, which may hurt your scores a little, but inquiries can add up and have a compounding effect on your credit scores. Opening a new account will also decrease your average age of accounts, and that could also hurt your scores.”

There is one exception to this rule. If you’re shopping for a new car or home, it’s OK to shop around and have multiple lenders pull your credit. If these credit pulls occur during the same time frame, they are often ignored by credit bureaus.

  1. Check your credit score regularly. If you practice tips 1 – 3 but forget to do #4, you’re setting yourself up for possible risk. Mistakes are known to happen, and reporting errors can have a negative impact on your score. If someone steals your identity and opens a new line of credit in your name, how will you know if you don’t regularly monitor your score?

You are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Click here to order your free reports.

If you find a credit reporting error, dispute the mistakes with the appropriate credit reporting agency and your score may improve.

If you have additional questions about your credit score, give us a call! We’re happy to help in any way we can.

Habitat for Humanity Logo

Hometown Highlights: Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity

The Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity is so much more than building homes!

Based in Grand Haven, they are also able to service the southern Muskegon areas of Norton Shores, Roosevelt Park, and Fruitport. With the support from donors and volunteers, they continue to help those with priority home repair needs and can provide families in our communities with the opportunity to have a safe, affordable place to call home.Habitat for Humanity Logo

Below are some of the programs TCAHFH offers and where donor dollars go to help with these initiatives.

  • PRIORITY HOME REPAIR – Our program allows eligible homeowners to access dollars to make repairs to their property that are essential to health and safety.
  • VETERAN’S BUILD AFFILIATE – This national initiative provides housing solutions and volunteer and employment opportunities to US Veterans, military service members and their immediate families. Veterans in Ottawa and Muskegon County may be eligible to receive repair dollars that will improve their basic housing, as well as assistance in accessing other resources.
  • HOME CONSTRUCTION – Donor dollars, alongside volunteer labor, help us with the purchase of land, materials, supplies and labor of new home construction or rehab for our partner families’ homes. Each family commits to 200-400 hours of sweat equity.
  • A BRUSH WITH KINDNESS – A subset of our construction duties would be the ABWK program. This is a program that concentrates on “repairing” the outside of homes that are already owned by the homeowner but can’t be maintained due to financial difficulties. Many of the individuals using this program are seniors.
  • ReSTORE – A place to recycle building materials to keep them from the landfill and allow customers to make home improvements at affordable prices.
  • CARS FOR HOMES – Your used car (or truck/boat/van) can help build a new home for a family in need. We’ll arrange everything and even pick it up for you! (Tax deductible as allowed by law.)
  • AGING IN PLACE – This national initiative provides home repairs to keep low-income seniors safe in their homes. It may include modification to the interior to accommodate a wheelchair, etc.

If you are planning a home improvement project, or if you have items in your garage or basement that you would like to get rid of, donate or shop at the Tri-Cities Area Habitat ReStore!

Location: 408 N. Ferry St in Grand Haven
Hours: Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Phone Number: 616-846-1505

Look for their new ReStore opening in Norton Shores later this fall!

Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity is always looking for volunteers! Whether it is a group project or maybe just a couple of volunteers needed at a time, they have opportunities available and appreciate your time. If interested, please contact volunteer@ricitieshabitat.org.

Love in Action

Hometown Highlights: Love in Action

This was written by the staff at Love in Action and submitted for our Hometown Highlights feature. This story shows the power of connection and the importance of Love in Action’s mission.

It was 2 a.m. in the middle of a dark church parking lot. Light shone on a couple of women lounging in lawn chairs and chitchatting. A concerned police officer walked up to them and asked, “What are you ladies up to?”

“Just enjoying the evening, officer,” one joyfully replied.

Love in ActionWhat had begun a few months before as casual conversation with others waiting in line for a food truck had developed into friendships. Deb (name changed to protect the client) and her new friends started meeting earlier to wait together. They shared vulnerabilities in their situations and connected over history, loss and hardship. While grieving the loss of her son, Deb found a safe place with friends. These friends walked alongside her during good times and hard times. They even came together over the holidays.

“For the first time in a long time, I felt safe and not judged,” Deb recalled.

One of her friends at the food truck suggested Deb join Financial Fitness, a Love in Action program designed to empower participants with skills to work toward financial stability. With the support she received in class, Deb was able to pay off her son’s funeral expense; she made the goal to become debt-free; and she now has money in savings.

She began to thrive because she had tangible resources partnered with emotional support and practical solutions.

Deb’s story reflects the beautiful power of connection. It shows what happens when we find those people who make us feel safe and not judged. We begin to experience community that opens doors and provides support.

Love in Action combines the generous donations of our community to provide for local neighbors who face challenging situations. Love in  action provided 316,000 meals, over 10,000 nights of shelter and hundreds of health care offerings to our neighbors in need. What’s more, as a community, we cultivate the opportunity to safely share the vulnerability of our situations, connect, and build friendships. We nurture a culture of us.


Second 2022 Service Scholarship Winner Announced

In conjunction with our #MMGivesBack and Service Rewards programs, we’ve launched the Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship in hopes of recognizing High School Seniors with dreams of pursuing a career in service.

Careers Include:

  • Military
  • Teachers & Educators
  • Government & Politics
  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • First Responders
  • Doctors & Nurses

We received dozens of applicants and examined each one closely. We learned about their goals and aspirations, the community service they completed and impacts they made in West Michigan and how they plan to give back to those that need it most.

We assembled a Scholarship Committee to select our 2022 winners. Two West Michigan graduates will receive $1,000 to further their education.

HannahAfter much consideration, Michigan Mortgage is pleased to announce Hannah DeVrou, a 2022 Allendale High School Graduate, as a winner of this year’s Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship.

She said the following in her application.

“To me, service is giving to another without them needing to request it. Helping someone in any way you can think of. Service could be as simple as cutting a neighbor’s grass or being there for a friend through a hard season. Service is the most genuine way to show someone that you love them. Service is giving your time to someone else instead of using it on yourself. Service is the most fulfilling way to assist another.”

“I hope to impact our local community in the future by committing wholeheartedly to my career path. By choosing nursing as a major and future career, I am choosing to serve our local community every day I walk into my workplace. Nurses and other Healthcare workers are willing to risk their lives daily by putting themselves in harm’s way to be of service to their community, and I strive for that in my own life. I also plan to volunteer within my community as I do now, making a positive impact on every person I interact with. I plan to serve with the youth of my local church for years to come, mentoring and being a positive influence on young minds.”

Hannah plans to attend the Davenport University and major in Nursing.

“My career goal is to be a Registered Nurse working in a post-operative, pediatric care center,” she said. “I’ve got my hopes set on Helen Devos!”

“This scholarship will impact my studies by helping me save for and afford the schooling to achieve this goal! I am so excited to have been gifted this scholarship and am delighted to use the funding to give back to my community.”

Congratulations, Hannah! You are so deserving of this recognition.


Do you need help making your monthly mortgage payments?

If you are struggling to make your monthly payments – mortgage, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities, internet and more – due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has a program to help.

According to MSHDA, “The Homeowner Assistance Fund was established under section 3206 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the ARP) to mitigate hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic by providing funds to prevent homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosure, loss of utilities or home energy services and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship on or after January 21, 2020 or for those homeowners who experience a coronavirus pandemic financial hardship that began before January 21, 2020 but continued after that date.

MSHDAThe U.S. Department of the Treasury notified MSHDA on April 14, 2021, that it will allocate $242,812,277 to the State of Michigan. This number was based on unemployed individuals and the number of mortgagors with delinquent mortgage payments.”

MSHDA opened the program to the public on February 14, 2022.

Who is eligible?

  • Homeowners with household incomes less than 150% of Area Median Income (AMI)
  • Homeowners who own and occupy the property as their primary residence
  • Homeowners must have and explain a financial hardship directly related to COVID-19 on or after January 21, 2020.

Up to $25,000 Grant Per Household to Pay:

  • Delinquent mortgage/housing expenses, including property tax and insurance escrow shortages
  • Delinquent land contract payments, mobile home consumer loan payments or mobile home park lot payments
  • Delinquent property taxes
  • Delinquent condominium/homeowners’ association fees
  • Delinquent homeowner’s insurance,
  • Delinquent utilities, gas, electric, water, sewer
  • Delinquent internet broadband services

For more information and to apply, click here. Due to backlog, it may take 6 – 8 weeks to review your application. If you have questions about the program, please call Customer Service 844-756-4423 or email MSHDA-HO-HAF-Program@michigan.gov.


First 2022 Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship Winner Announced

In conjunction with our #MMGivesBack and Service Rewards programs, we’ve launched the Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship in hopes of recognizing High School Seniors with dreams of pursuing a career in service.

Careers Include:

  • Military
  • Teachers & Educators
  • Government & Politics
  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • First Responders
  • Doctors & Nurses

We received dozens of applicants and examined each one closely. We learned about their goals and aspirations, the community service they completed and impacts they made in West Michigan and how they plan to give back to those that need it most.

We assembled a Scholarship Committee to select our 2022 winners. Two West Michigan graduates will receive $1,000 to further their education.

ErynAfter much consideration, Michigan Mortgage is pleased to announce Eryn Bouwhuis, a 2022 Spring Lake High School Graduate, as a winner of this year’s Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship.

She said the following in her application.

“The word ‘service’ brings two other words to my mind which are: selflessness and sacrifice. The first word, selflessness, goes with the idea that in order to perform service you have to put other people’s needs first before yours. Service is the act of putting others in front of yourself. The second word, sacrifice, goes with the idea that service is the act of giving up one’s comfort for the benefit and needs of someone else. Service is done without any complaints, and it is done for the welfare of others. Service brings joy and happiness to others. I believe that service can truly change the lives of others, both the giver and the receiver. Even the smallest acts of service can go a long way. I believe that it is your duty to perform many acts of service throughout your whole lifetime.”

“I hope to work at a local hospital or somewhere close in order to give back to my local community of West Michigan. I believe that working as a nurse will serve as a way to give back to those in need. Another way I hope to impact our local community is by continuing to volunteer at local food pantries, food trucks, and blood drives. I have participated in some volunteer activities through my years on student council that I hope to continue with as I get older.”

Eryn plans to attend the University of South Carolina and major in Nursing. She may further my education by becoming a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant.

“This scholarship will help alleviate some stress that comes with paying for college,” she said. With less stress, I will be able to concentrate fully on my studies.”

Congratulations, Eryn! You are so deserving of this recognition.

Success Story

Success Story: Casey & Kyle Patterson

The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on all of us, Lenders and Real Estate Agents included. We stopped meeting with clients in person and relied on technology to get the job done.

West Michigan Real Estate Agent Casey Patterson called it “crazy, hysterical…comical, even?”

Success Story“I never would have thought, we as Realtors, would actually be able to collect unemployment and told to stay home,” he said. “There was a time when agents weren’t really allowed in homes during the early phases of COVID meaning, no showings or in-person viewings. I had multiple clients who were contemplating making offers on homes, when we COULD NOT go and see them in person. For me to recommend someone to purchase a home based on some MLS photos and cheesy marketing, is totally asinine.”

It wasn’t easy, but we worked through it, made changes, and focused on customer service to get the job done.

Casey and his partner Kyle saw that first-hand when they purchased a home at the tail end of the pandemic. Michigan Mortgage was their lender of choice.

“I’ve been working as a licensed Real Estate Agent in West Michigan for over five years now,” Casey said. “During my first couple of years in the business, I continuously worked with Lenders and banks, and it was almost always a different person or company, and nobody stood out or made a true impression on me. Eventually I came across Amy Hendrickson’s name on an offer I received for a listing with a client that she was representing the lender side. During the next few weeks, I was amazed at the speed of Amy’s team with, not only getting a loan closed far before it was expected to, but for her team’s reaction time with incoming problems or concerns, constant availability, even for the smallest and most redundant of questions.”

“We have used Michigan Mortgage for multiple of our personal home loans and I have yet to be frustrated or concerned at the level of help and support I receive from Michigan Mortgage,” he continued.

“We just purchased our dream home a few months ago, Michigan Mortgage exceeded our expectations on all ends of helping us sell our last home and placing us in the perfect position to buy our new home. I refer all of my new clients to Amy’s team, so I know they get the same level of support that we did.”

“I am very glad there are still lenders that are homey, warm, and actually care. I have done far too many deals with lenders will hardly answer a phone call.”

Now that Casey and Kyle are settled, they look forward to sitting outside on warm summer days and watching airplanes come and go from their backyard.

Thank you for putting your trust in us, Casey! We love working with you and Kyle.