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!

 

Best & Brightest

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April 19, 2013 // Community, Culture

Article Written By: Lonna Wiersma | SVP Human Resource Director | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

For the ninth year in a row, Mercantile Bank of Michigan has been selected as one of West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, an award that we are very proud of achieving.

To be nominated, companies must recognize employees as their greatest asset and work with imagination and assurance to create exceptional work environments.  After both a lengthy questionnaire and employee surveys, the competition identifies and then honors organizations throughout West Michigan that display a commitment to excellence in their human resource practices and employee enrichment.  The questionnaire and survey focus on areas such as communication, work-life balance, employee education, recognition, retention and more. For nine years in a row, we have been both nominated and consequently, selected as a winner of this prestigious award.

For Mercantile Bank of Michigan, this award continues to

·       Confirm to our directors, employees, customers, vendors, and the business community that Mercantile Bank of Michigan is committed to excellence;

·       Give us an opportunity to create awareness and generate visibility to attract the Best & Brightest employees and customers; and

·       Provide access to information on current trends and issues affecting the growth and success of West Michigan’s business community

On May 2nd, at a Gala event, in front of industry leaders, influencers and peers, we will be awarded a plaque along with 100 other Best and Brightest companies in the West Michigan region.  We are thrilled to be a part of this elite group!

Thank you to all our directors and employees for making Mercantile Bank the BEST that it can be!

Congratulations to all the Winners! 

The Importance of Culture

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February 14, 2013 // Culture

Article Written By: Robert Kaminski | President & Chief Operating Officer | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

What is culture? When asked this question, many people pause and think, and perhaps struggle with putting their thoughts into words. Culture is one of those things that may not readily be seen or heard by some, but over time it becomes apparent. Webster’s defines culture as “the set of values, goals and practices that characterizes an institution or organization”. Cultural characteristics define an organization from the standpoint of its staff members, management, customers, vendors and anyone who comes in contact with the organization.

Each year around this country businesses come and businesses go. There are many reasons why businesses do not succeed.  While some of these reasons may be beyond the control of the organization, many others can be traced to an undefined or poor culture. Culture provides the means by which a business conducts its affairs. It sets expectations for communication within and outside of the organization, for delivery of products and services, understanding and commitment to the organizational mission, the desire to be the best organization possible, and the need to approach every facet of corporate responsibility with a sense of urgency while striving for excellence. An appropriate organizational culture provides a roadmap for which the trail to success can be engineered. A bad culture can do just the opposite, and pose a hindrance that prevents the organization from reaching its goals.

One measurement that I take in trying to understand a company’s culture happens when I walk through its doors. Have you ever entered a business and quickly had the feeling that your presence was the most important thing to those employees on that day? Conversely, have you had the misfortune to enter an establishment and it seems that you are totally invisible? What about calling in on the phone and trying to get an issue resolved and being transferred multiple times, having to tell your story again and again? I know how you have felt in each of these situations because I, like you have experienced them all. These are the kinds of situations, both positive and negative, are often reflective of an organization’s culture.

Competition is extremely fierce in most areas of our economy and businesses continually seek an advantage. This environment is also present in our industry as community banking remains a very competitive arena. One of our main challenges is that many financial institutions have resorted to acquiring customers mainly on price. This is a rather precarious position because leading with price does not often facilitate the building of customer loyalty, nor does it provide a solid foundation for developing deeply rooted customer relationships. Mercantile takes a different approach to community banking. While we always present a competitively priced package to our clients and prospective clients, we are interested in acquiring clients who want to have a relationship where they view their bankers as trusted advisors. We strive to be a banker that can fulfill all of our customers’ needs and exceed their expectations. This approach to banking is reflective of our culture.

At Mercantile Bank, we are very protective and proud of our culture. It is something that was a critical fiber in the fabric of our company when it was formed over 15 years ago. Mercantile Bank’s culture starts with integrity and ethics; this is a non negotiable in our organization. Anyone who does not embrace and demonstrate these qualities will not be associated with our company. After these values, there are other characteristics that are important for Mercantile employees to possess that provide strong ties to and help define our culture. Some key words/phrases that provide a glimpse into the Mercantile culture are multifaceted, initiative, optimistic, problem solvers, adaptable, and embracing change. When our employees demonstrate these behaviors, clients quickly get feeling that Mercantile is an organization that they can count on. They know that Mercantile will not only offer industry leading products but they will also provide a staff that will be there for the customer, to understand their banking needs, provide assistance and add value.

A successful and appropriate culture can provide the environment that, when combined with a well conceived business plan and an excellent team of employees will allow an organization the opportunity to reach its corporate goals and objectives.

The Merc Mob

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January 24, 2013 // Community, Culture, Events

Article Written By: David Tilley | Creative Media Specialist | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

Early last year we were looking at unique ways we could give back to our local community. We knew that we wanted to 1) be able to have participants be directly involved, 2) support businesses that make an impact on our local economy, and 3) make it fun.

The Merc Mob was born.

Merc Mob -  A social flash mob of Mercantile employees who volunteer to spend their lunch at the designated restaurant.  We ask others to join us though Facebook/Twitter. We do this to support local businesses, start conversations, and generate buzz for the local community.

We pick the time and the restaurant, then invite people to join us in mobbing their space, eating their food, and giving them exposure. Everyone eats lunch, so by coordinating a large group of people to do it at all at one space, we have the ability to make a cool impact. The restaurants have been excited because they get customers in who are excited to buy their food, and they can see featured photos of the event posted on our Facebook and Twitter accounts (on occasion videos too). We’ve been doing Merc Mobs monthly for close to a year now and are excited about the enthusiasm it’s received from the community.

Join us tomorrow, the 25th, as we mob Rockwell‘s (45 S. Division Ave, GR) at 11:30am. Also be sure to watch our Facebook for future mobs. Gather your friends, grab a fork, and dig into supporting local businesses!

Article Written By: Tina Van Valkenburg| VP-Human Resource Specialist | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

For 15 years, we have touted as part of our Mission Statement that “Our EMPLOYEES are our most valuable asset”.  It is one thing to say, but we take it further by showing them our appreciation in many ways!

Weekly, Gordon Oosting shares with the team a story that focuses on teamwork, highlighting employees who are appreciated for not only what they do but how they do it and how it impacts both customers and the organization.  It’s great to read these every week and see the wonderful connections between so many of our employees.

We ended the month of September with the ever popular Employee Appreciation Lunches, where Cal Murdock, one of our Board of Directors, cooks and serves up his special recipe burgers, brats and more to all of the employees.  This years’ event was hosted by Mark Oberlin (from The Oberlin Group of Raymond James & Associates), with a special visit by his musical group, Two Men and an Amp, at the Leonard event.  As always, these lunches give us a chance to relax a bit during the day while enjoying some great company and the thanks from the Executive Team.

It goes without saying, that a great company is defined by its great employees and to further celebrate that during our 15th year, we are having a 15th Anniversary Party for all of our employees, our Directors and guests in December.   We are all looking forward to an evening of reflection, celebration and appreciation!!