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.
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: 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: Andrea Whitney| Senior Accounting Specialist| Mercantile Bank of Michigan
A century ago, a small group of physicians and lay people in New York City came together to launch a fight against cancer — a disease that, at the time, almost always ended in death. That grass roots effort eventually became the American Cancer Society, which officially marks its 100th birthday this year. Thanks to the many efforts of those people and countless others since 1913, there have been tremendous advances in research, advocacy, education and support.
Despite these accomplishments, there is much more work to be done before we have a world without cancer. Enter the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life- their signature and largest fundraiser. It is an organized, overnight community walk where teams of people camp out around a track. Members of each team take turns walking around to signify a unified effort. It’s an opportunity to Celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, Remember those lost and Fight Back against a disease that has taken too much!
In 2002, a group of Mercantile Bank employees decided to coordinate a team to be involved in the Ada Michigan event. My beloved Grandma LaVonne had recently been diagnosed with cancer after just 2 months prior a mammogram came up negative. I was angry and so jumped at the opportunity to be involved. I have been participating in these events around various communities ever since. I have even chaired an event for 5 years and have learned so much from other volunteers and their amazing stories. Relay for Life has given me the opportunity to turn my anger and sadness into positive energy and help others to fight back!
The Mercantile Bank team has had amazingly strong support from Executive management and employees every year since the first event in 2002. We have had teams at the Wyoming, Holland, Sparta, and East Lansing events-raising over $400,000 over the past 11 years! This year the committee has decided to start a team at the Downtown Grand Rapids event, taking place at Ah-Nab-Awan Park on June 14 @1pm – June 15@1pm. We have already raised over $22,000 and expect that to grow within the next week!
As employees of Mercantile Bank, we will continue to raise money in an effort to eradicate cancer! We urge others to get involved in any way they can and make a world with more birthdays!
Article Written By: Monica Kreiger| Marketing Team Leader | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
Sustainability. We’ve all heard this buzz word but what does it really mean to businesses in West Michigan? That was the topic at Mercantile’s recent luncheon on a beautiful spring afternoon at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Special guest speaker Norman Christopher, Executive Director of Sustainability at Grand Valley State University and author of Sustainability Demystified spoke on the topic and led a panel discussion of local government and business leaders including Mayor George Heartwell, Kurt Hassberger of Rockford Construction and Kerri Miller of Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc.
Sustainability best practices such as assessment and planning, clean technologies, Green/LEED building and waste minimization were some of the ideas presented as ways for businesses to gain a competitive advantage and improve financial performance in today’s changing markets. Sustainability plays an important role in the growth of business in West Michigan and Grand Rapids has embraced it. Grand Rapids has been recognized by the United Nations as a “Regional Center of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development” and in 2010 the US Chamber of Commerce gave our city the “Nation’s Most Sustainable City” award.
Thank you to Mr. Christopher and our distinguished panel for an afternoon of engaging and thought provoking conversation.
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!