Article Written By: Lori Knierim | Marketing Officer | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
We could all use a little rest and relaxation – but when it’s time take a break and get away, how do you not go over budget? We’ve got some great tips on how to travel without breaking the bank!
Search the Web. Check local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor Bureau websites for events or festivals happening in towns throughout Michigan. Many of them are free, or very low cost and fun for the whole family.
Consider rental homes/cabins instead of hotel rooms. One of the largest parts of your vacation budget can be eaten up by expensive hotel bills… but consider checking out sites such as VRBO.com or HomeAway.com to find more affordable lodging options. Often times, they offer great accommodations at a much lower rate.
Be flexible! If possible, plan your trip during the “off” season or mid week. Many tourist destinations are able to offer package deals at greatly reduced prices if you’re able to visit when they’re not as busy. In addition, when there are fewer crowds, you’re able to enjoy the visit that much more!
Consider your mode of transportation. Planes, Trains and Automobiles! The cost of fuel can impact a vacation budget very quickly. If you’re traveling less than 300 miles taking the family car is usually more economical. Once you go beyond that point things change. Check airlines for last minute deals on flights, or consider taking a train or bus for a more scenic mode of travel.
When at all possible, try to avoid eating out. Easier said than done we know, but if you can pack snack food or sandwiches as well as drinks for the day you’d be amazed at how much money you can save. If you decide to eat out, try to pick one meal a day. Every little bit adds up so choose wisely!
The bottom line? Whether it’s a day at the beach, the local zoo, exploring a lighthouse, or hiking down a wooded path, there are so many ways to get out there and affordable enjoy that well deserved vacation time!
Article Written By: Cordell Zachery | Commercial Loan Operations Intern | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
As an incoming Senior at Grand Valley State University I’ve completed a variety of internships and worked a handful of jobs. As my undergraduate career is coming to an end, planning for post graduate life is now my top priority. Acing classes, making connections, and finding my niche within an organization are my main goals for my final year. This mindset is what steered me to Mercantile Bank.
Towards the end of my Junior year I came in contact with Don Williams a former member of Mercantile’s Board of Directors. With his guidance I interviewed with Mercantile Bank for a summer internship with the Commercial Loan Operations Department and shortly after I was offered the position.
From day one of the internship I knew that it was going to be different from my previous work experiences. The day was dedicated to training all of the interns where we learned about the bank’s values and structure, professional development skills, and went on a tour of the bank’s main branch. We even got to chat with the bank’s president!
The day after training I met the employees from the departments that I’d be working with. Each employee in the department was vibrant and welcoming. My supervisors really made me feel as though my task within the organization helped with the bank’s success. This feeling of actually making an impact as an intern is something that Mercantile Bank strongly values. Not once have I felt like a “cog in the machine”.
A unique part of Mercantile’s internship program is the experience outside of the office. Misti Stanton, Diversity & Inclusion Officer, makes it her duty to make sure that we not only develop connections within the bank but outside as well. In June Misti brought the interns to an event with the ADA called the “Father of The Year Awards” held at JW Marriot. During this event we were able to network with various professionals from Grand Rapids, learned a few pointers on dinner etiquette, and enjoyed a delicious 3 course meal. This is only one of the many professional events we’ve attended. Being around these professionals motivated me to attend numerous networking and skill building events around Grand Rapids and at every event I can say that I’ve made a connection with a new person.
Another facet of Mercantile that I didn’t expect to get from my internship was the openness of employees to be a mentor and a friend. Whenever being around Don Williams he greets you with a warm smile and then gives you some tips or past experiences that contain a take away for you to use within your life. Also, I’ve been able to learn from departments other than mine as well. As an Advertising & PR major I was very interested in what the Marketing Department’s functions were. Monica Kreiger and Zach Roth both took time out of their day to meet with me. I learned about their strategies, use of social media, commercial making, and more.
As an intern here at Mercantile Bank I can truly say that I’ve had one of the best experiences as an up and coming professional in Grand Rapids. Within Mercantile’s mission statement it states that the organization maintains an “environment of growth and development” and I’ve seen that first hand. Not only do I learn new things every day about the inner workings of Mercantile but I also improve daily on my professionalism and transferable skills that I can use in any field that I choose to go into. Here at Mercantile you have your best experiences outside of your cubical.
Mercantile Bank is pleased to welcome our 2015 Summer Interns!
They are working in various capacities from Human Resources to Branch Support and IT. Interns are working in several locations throughout the Bank and we are very excited to have this great group of young professionals join us this summer!
In addition to offering these students real world experience and the opportunity to explore a potential career path in banking, internships are also a great way to increase professional networks and enhance their resumes. Investing in the next generation is an important part of strengthening the communities we serve.
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.