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.