Article Written By: Bob Worthington | SVP, General Counsel & Risk Management Director | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
Entrepreneurship has been a trademark of the State of Michigan since its founding back in 1835. The Fords, the Dows, the Kelloggs, the Meijers are just a few of the men and women who have contributed to our legacy of innovation and development. But if history has taught us anything, it teaches that each generation must build upon the generation that came before it.
Junior Achievement has taken on the challenge of building the next generation of entrepreneurs and Mercantile Bank is proud to support them. Junior Achievement’s volunteer-delivered, kindergarten-12th grade programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential. With the help of more than 1,600 local volunteers, JA students develop the skills they need to experience the realities and opportunities of work and entrepreneurship in the 21st-century global marketplace.
Mercantile Bank believes the future is bright for the State of Michigan and it is organizations like Junior Achievement that are making it happen. If you are interested in becoming a Junior Achievement volunteer sign up at www.juniorachievement.org. We hope you will join us in building the next generation.
Mobile Wallets are quickly becoming a more accepted and preferred method of payment for consumers wanting to utilize their smartphones for purchases. Recognizing this growing interest and demand, Mercantile Bank has announced partnerships with multiple industry- leading Mobile Wallet providers bringing flexibility and choices to its customers. The bank has partnered with Visa Checkout, Google Wallet, PayPal, and coming soon, Apple Pay.
John Schulte, SVP Chief Information Officer at Mercantile Bank states, “We consider the Mobile Wallet as simply another extension of the opportunities that mobile devices bring to us in providing our customers with convenient ways to manage all of their financial needs. We’ve already prioritized the mobile channel as a strategic investment for the bank’s future, because we want to offer our customers the best package of convenience and personal service possible.”
With the rapidly changing landscape of mobile wallets, each mobile wallet provider is evolving to bring unique features to their wallet solution such as added security, integrated reward programs, and ease of checkout. The most recent development is with Apple Pay.
Apple Pay is used with iPhone 6 to pay in stores without swiping your cards and in apps without entering payment and contact information. Just pay with a single touch of your ﬁnger using Touch ID.
With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored. And when you make a purchase, the Device Account Number alongside a transaction-speciﬁc dynamic security code is used to process your payment. So your actual credit or debit card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.
“Mercantile Bank’s goal with Mobile Wallet solutions is to curate for our customers the best set of choices to match their unique needs, and make them seamlessly integrate into Mercantile Bank’s existing mobile and online banking tools. As always, we want to match these new tools with the best local banking support available when you need it. Having choices means no compromises are required. Our customers get to pick which mobile wallet(s) fit their financial needs, purchasing habits, and lifestyle.” said Schulte.
About Mercantile Bank Corporation
Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mercantile Bank Corporation is the bank holding company for Mercantile Bank of Michigan. Mercantile provides banking services to businesses, individuals and governmental units, and differentiates itself on the basis of service quality and the expertise of its banking staff. Mercantile has assets of $2.9 billion and operates 53 banking offices serving communities in central and western Michigan. Mercantile Bank Corporation’s common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “MBWM.”
Article Written By: Destiny Granger | Marketing Intern | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
I’m currently a senior at Grand Valley State University double majoring in Finance and Marketing. I heard about Mercantile and the internship opportunities through Dean Don Williams. Dean Williams is the donor of the scholarship I received my junior year and a Director Emeritus at Mercantile. I had always desired to work at a bank; so when he informed me about the bank opportunities I quickly jumped on it. Shortly after, I attended an informational meeting at the bank. This is where I met Brett Hoover, the Human Resource Administrator (who is also great at his job). Brett informed me about the current internships available and suggested that their Marketing internship best fit my background. A few weeks later I went for an interview with Monica Kreiger and Michelle Shangraw, both amazing friendly people, and got the position.
My first day as a Mercantile Marketing intern was absolutely amazing. The people were great, very welcoming and friendly especially my boss, Monica Kreiger. I had known within a few hours of being there that I would love my job.
A few of my responsibilities as a Marketing Intern were to put together an already formulated training packet for the Firstbank and Keystone Community Bank employees, who are now Mercantile employees thanks to the successful merger, scan and monitor activity on social media, design internal signage for the branches, created name tags for new employee and many other projects.
One of the exciting parts about being a marketing intern at Mercantile Bank was being a part of the merger with Firstbank and Keystone Community Bank. Although at times it got very hectic; it was still very exciting. I received the chance to often work outside the office. I had mini road trips with Zach Roth, awesome guy, to take pictures for the bank website all over the state. I recently received the chance to attend an annual fundraising skeet shoot in Ada Michigan; where I was able to shoot a shotgun for the first time, it was an awesome experience.
Overall, my time spent at Mercantile Bank of Michigan was an absolute great, amazing, learning experience. I plan on coming back to further my experience as an employee of the bank soon. This was an experience that I would definitely encourage others to take part in. I would like to thank Monica, Michelle, Brett, Don, Tina, Mike, Zach, Sarah and the whole fourth floor for giving me a great experience here at Mercantile Bank!
Article Written By: Monica Kreiger| Marketing Team Leader | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
We are now mid-way through the 2nd year of our Giving Together Facebook Program and we have some exciting updates! This program has been a great way for us to give back to the communities we serve in an engaging way. Each quarter, non-profit organizations are able to submit a short application to be considered to compete for public votes via our Facebook page. At the end of a weeklong voting period, the organization with the most votes receives a $5,000 donation. Not a bad way to end a week!
Since we started the program in January 2013, there have been over 16,000 votes cast and we have had six $5,000 recipients including 3 Mile Project, Restorers Inc., Arts in Motion, Family Futures, Conductive Learning Center, and our most recent recipient, The Geek Group. Each organization is unique and it has been such a treat visiting these groups and learning about what they do and the impact that they have on others.
Due to our recent expansion, as of July 2014, the program is opening up to include a much larger portion of Michigan. We are excited to be able to open up the program to reach a wider audience and to learn about organizations across the state making a difference in their communities. Applications are now being accepted through July 31 for third quarter. The organizations selected will be announced on our Facebook page on August 29 and voting will start on September 15.
For full details on the program, including application dates, voting periods, a list of Michigan counties included and full program rules, you can visit www.MercantileGivingTogether.com. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates!
Article Written By: Zach Roth | Creative Media Specialist | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
Budgeting is not easy. The best intentions of saving and taking financial control can quickly become forgotten as old spending patterns creep their way back into your routine. Instead of attempting to take on your budget all by yourself, why not utilize available tools and resources to help keep you on track? Mercantile Bank of Michigan offers a variety of tools and services to assist you in taking control of your finances.
1. Track Your Spending
Maintaining an awareness of where your money is going is a great place to start. You’re able to notice spending patterns that you may not have even been aware of. Seeing just how much your morning coffee is costing you over the course of a month can be shocking. Changing the coffee routine from daily to weekly can have a significant impact on your savings over the course of a year.
Mercantile Bank’s MercMoney application tracks all of your spending for you. Any purchases you make are immediately categorized. The application displays your spending habits in charts and lists that help you to visualize where your money is going.
2. Build a Budget
Clearly seeing your spending habits can help you find areas where you might like to make changes. Giving yourself a budget for various expenses will allow you to stay in control of your spending. Once again, the MercMoney application is a great tool to create and maintain a budget. You’re able to set different budgets within each expense category. The app can send you notifications via text or email when you are nearing your spending limit within a category. If you need to make any adjustments to your budget throughout the year, it is easy to make changes.
3. Pay Yourself
Saving money can be difficult, especially if you have to make the decision each month of how much to put away. When money gets tight, it becomes easy to procrastinate on your own savings. Why not take the decision out of your hands? If you set up an automated transfer into a savings account, you will no longer have to continually decide if you can afford to pay yourself. Set a reasonable amount and you won’t even notice the movement of funds. By the end of the year you will have built up your savings account without even realizing it.
It’s easy to manage your accounts with Mercantile’s Internet Banking. Setting up a recurring transfer between your accounts is a simple and convenient way to make sure your savings grows.
4. Be Aware
Having an awareness of your budgets and balances helps you to stay on top of executing your financial plan. MercMobile is a great way to maintain that awareness no matter where you are. If you are in a store contemplating a purchase, it may be helpful to check your account balance from your phone before making a decision. The MercMobile app is free and can be quickly downloaded from your favorite app store. Don’t have a Smartphone? That’s ok, we also offer Mobile Web Banking and Text Banking so you can always get balances on the go.
5. Be Intentional
Taking the first step to set up a budget is necessary. However, your efforts are meaningless if you are unable to follow through with your budget. Gaining the self-discipline to adhere to a budget can be incredibly challenging. You may find yourself struggling to stay within your spending limits. Mercantile Bank’s Reloadable Cards may be a helpful resource for staying on track. For example, say that you are regularly exceeding your spending limit for groceries. Unnecessary items continue to catch your eye and cause you to overspend. You may find that putting your allotted grocery money on a Reloadable Card will help you to gain the self-discipline you need. Knowing that there is only so much on the card can serve as your continual reminder to stick to the plan.
For more information on these financial tools and more, visit us at www.mercbank.com.
Article Written By: Zach Roth | Creative Media Specialist | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
In order to provide our customers with information about the merger of Mercantile Bank Corporation and Firstbank Corporation, we’ve launched a website specific to communicating merger details. The micro-site will serve as the primary resource for all merger updates and information. Customers will be able to take note of key dates, learn about new features that will become available to them, and find answers to any questions that they may have. Additionally, videos are available of Mike Price (Mercantile Bank Chairman and CEO) and Tom Sullivan (Firstbank President and CEO) discussing how the merger came about and how it will benefit customers of Mercantile, Firstbank and Keystone.
Click HERE to visit the merger website.
Article Written By: Damaris Olaechea from NerdWallet | www.NerdWallet.com
Since many are unfamiliar with money management tools, how about an analogy to help elucidate this mysterious new tool? A weight scale is intimidating in its simplicity: you step on it, and in three figures you (perhaps regrettably) see the cumulative efforts of munching on midnight snacks and not exercising. No matter how painfully blunt a weight scale can be, we can all agree that it’s a helpful tool to guide you towards a healthier lifestyle.
Personal financial management tools, also called PFMs, are a lot like that intimidating weight scale. PFMs also display figures, but instead of measuring your weight they measure your financial health. Like the weight scale, PFMs figures are useful tools for helping you maintain a healthier lifestyle. However, unlike the weight scale, the PFM will aid your financial health. One beautiful difference between the two is that PFMs can be accessed anywhere you go via your mobile phone.
About 90% of mobile banking users access mobile banking to check account balances or recent transactions. With mobile PFMs, not only can you to track your balances and expenses, but you can also track any existing debt, anticipate upcoming bills, and manage your savings. They offer valuable insights to help anyone looking to prepare for retirement, build emergency savings or guide themselves out of a nasty fiscal hole.
If you’re looking to get a better grip on your spending habits, or are trying to follow a budget to the cent, you’d do well to use a mobile PFM. Below you’ll find a few examples of the benefits provided by PFMs.
1. At A Glance Reports
Most PFMs use simple graphs or lists to show you how much spending money you have available, how much you owe, and how much you’ve budgeted. This spares you the time and trouble of thumbing though line-by-line reports when you’re ready to make a purchase, but aren’t sure if you have the funds.
2. Budget Tools
Nearly all PFMs come with some kind of budgeting tool. After all, if there’s one tried and true method of careful financial planning, it’s closely monitoring your budget. You also have the added benefit of receiving alerts via text message or email when you’re approaching your budget limits.
3. Money-flow Monitoring
One of the better features of advanced PFMs is the ability to see where you spend most of your money. This can help the conscious consumer redistribute their funds if their spending isn’t aligning with their budget.
4. Portfolio Management
Have you made investments in the stock market? Do you hold accounts in more than one place? Would you like to know how your balances are contributing to your retirement? Well, some PFMs allow you to monitor your portfolios directly through the app. Some even allow you to examine individual investments and their performance.
While PFM tools can be extremely useful, they aren’t without certain concerns. Third party PFMs, for example, do require you give them your financial account information, including passwords.
If you’re afraid of using a third party for this reason, don’t fret. You’re actually in good company. According to a recent study by Forrester Research, 75 percent of consumers would prefer to use a PFM tool provided by their own financial institution. Fortunately, many banks have their own PFMs for customers to use. Try Mercantile Bank’s MercMoney tool to see how it can help you meet your financial goals.
PFMs are a promising tool to keep track of your financial accounts. However, like the weight scale, PFMs are only effective when they’re being used with a goal in mind. After all, no one ever lost weight just by stepping on a weight scale. Take the time to determine what your financial goals are, use a PFM to help keep you on track, and watch your financial health improve!
Article Written By: Mike Kroft | eBanking Services Manager | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
At Mercantile Bank, we take pride in providing our customers with innovative and helpful banking technology. We are excited to announce that we are preparing for a major upgrade to our Online Banking, Mobile Banking and Bill Pay systems. We believe these new resources will provide a new level of banking convenience. These upgrades will ensure that managing your online accounts will be both easy and convenient.
The new Online Banking system is incredibly intuitive and easy to navigate. As a part of the effortless navigation, you will be able to use a single login for both Online and Mobile Banking. Our upgraded online bank statements are redesigned to make them more visually appealing and most importantly will be easier to read. You will be able to print online statements as a pdf in the same format as the paper version. If you would like to be notified when online statements are ready, you will be able to receive email alerts to let you know they are ready to be viewed. Additionally, you will now be able to review your account history from the past 24 months.
Our new MercMoney personal finance management tools provide cutting edge banking technology that will impress. If you have struggled with budgeting in the past, we believe these new resources will help you take control of your finances and simplify your life. Budgeting, account aggregation, auto categorization, and debt management are a few of the tools that will allow you to visualize and interact with your money in a variety of constructive ways. For example, all of your transactions will be automatically categorized when you enroll for MercMoney. You will be able to examine your spending in a variety of ways that makes sense to you. We also will have our new MercMoney app for additional convenience to the tools. Our MercMoney app along with our MercMobile app for the Apple and Android platforms will be available for download on October 23, 2013.
There are numerous amounts of new features and improvements with this upgrade. Please visit our website (www.mercbank.com) to make note of the dates in which these changes are taking place. We will also be hosting a library of tutorial videos to illustrate many of the new features. We eagerly anticipate the release of this upgrade and are certain that you will appreciate it as much as we do.
Article Written By: Michael Price | Chairman and CEO | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
We are pleased to announce the merger of Mercantile Bank Corporation and Firstbank Corporation. The new organization will be the third largest Michigan-based bank holding company, with 53 branches state-wide and nearly $3 billion in total assets.
We believe this merger will strengthen our competitive position throughout the region, helping us to better serve our customers by enhancing the customer experience and expanding the breadth of our product portfolio. Both banking organizations share similar corporate cultures which emphasize providing excellent customer service and building strong client relationships.
Our expanded footprint means more convenience for our customers, as these complementary businesses have essentially no market overlap. No branch closures are anticipated as part of this merger and we expect that our branch employees will remain intact.
Both banking organizations have solid, knowledgeable management teams that are fully committed to the combined new company. We anticipate receiving all shareholder and regulatory approvals for this merger this fall, and completing the merger process by the end of this year.
From an executive management perspective, Tom Sullivan, the current President and CEO of Firstbank, will serve as Chairman of the combined organization for one year. I will serve as President and CEO. I enjoyed working with Tom to bring this merger together, and I am happy to continue to work with him as we finalize the merger process.
Additionally, we are taking measures, including the creation of merger integration teams, to ensure that all our customers have a very positive experience throughout the transition. We will continue to disseminate information about the merger in the days and weeks ahead. I want to reiterate that we believe that this merger-of-equals is a terrific opportunity to provide our customers with unmatched resources and services built on a tradition of excellence.
Article Written By: Zach Roth | Creative Media Specialist | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
We are proud to announce that our website is getting a new look! The updated mercbank.com will be launching in the upcoming weeks. At Mercantile Bank, we are continually striving to improve our products and services. It was this focus that led us to determine how we could better the presentation and functionality of our website. There are several reasons as to why this news has us eagerly anticipating the improvements.
After much hard work and testing we firmly believe that you will quickly fall in love with the new layout. It will provide our customers with a simple and intuitive flow. You will not have to make numerous amounts of clicks to finally arrive at the section of the website that you are looking for. Each portion of the webpage is easy to find and easy to access. Your time is important to us. The new navigation is so simple and easy that you may actually have a couple of free minutes on your hands to just sit back and relax.
The new and improved look of mercbank.com is incredibly sharp. We are thrilled with how neat and clean the design has turned out. It has a calming color scheme that won’t stress out your eyes in the least bit. Be prepared to enjoy the view.
As we are creatures of habit, there is one major thing to be aware of with the launch of the new site. The Internet Banking Login will now be located on the upper right hand side of the homepage. It was previously located on the upper left hand side so don’t be alarmed when your muscle memory takes you to what is now an empty space. All you need to do is stay calm and hear the faint voice of the MercBlog whispering, “…upper right hand corner”.
We hope that you enjoy the new look as much as we do!