by Andrea Frankovich | Virtual Banking Supervisor
You are busy – Mercantile gets it! So when you visit a bank drive thru you expect fast, friendly and efficient service so you can get on with your day. At Mercantile Bank of Michigan we are changing the impersonal and outdated way of drive thru banking by rolling out a new fleet of Virtual Banking Machines (VBMs). The VBM technology is fast and easy to use; simply touch the screen of a VBM and within seconds a Virtual Banking Specialist appears on the screen with a warm smile to assist you with your transaction. The specialist will process your transaction immediately. With VBM’s we focus on saving our customers time, providing accurate transaction processing in real-time and using face-to-face interactions to build relationships. Check out what types of transactions we offer and come say hi at one of our VBM locations!
Transactions Available: Cash/Check Deposits, Customer Check Cashing, Withdrawals, Transfers, Loan/Mortgage Payments
Statistics: Average 5 second wait time for VBS, Transaction processing in as little as 60 seconds
Locations: Portage, Troy, Alpine, Wyoming (coming in April), Leonard (coming Summer 2019)
Written By Victor Sosa | Marketing Intern
We bring you another installment of the Intern Spotlight! This week we have 8 featured interns who have different backgrounds and life experiences, but are all developing real-world job experience and skills to help them succeed in the future.
Brooke Harper is a sophomore at Grand Valley State University majoring in Marketing and minoring in Studio Art. She is a Branch Support Intern and her most memorable moment at Mercantile was when she took a trip to City Hall where all interns learned about the LEAD program. She believes the LEAD program is an awesome way to prepare young students for college and the workforce. As a teller last summer she had some experience with transactional-banking processes. She now understands how much more goes on within a bank. A fun fact about Brooke is that she high jumped on her high school’s track and field team for about 6 years. Now that’s commitment!
K’Mari Johnson is a junior and majoring in Finance. He is a Commercial Loan Operations Intern. One of his biggest take aways from this internship is the importance of setting a good example for those around him, because you never know when someone is watching. He has learned the importance of having connections in a business setting and the importance of customer service as a whole. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his friends and family.
Abigail is a senior at Grand Valley State University majoring in Management of Information Systems (MIS). She is a Deposits Operations Intern and hopes this work experience will allow her to gain a better understanding of her MIS degree. She also learned that it’s never a bad idea to ask for more information or to ask a supervisor for advice. A fun fact about Abigail is that she is a third degree black belt in Karate.
Jalin is a sophomore at Western Michigan University double majoring in Accounting & Entrepreneurship and minoring in Finance. He is a Commercial Loan Operations Intern and his most memorable moment as an intern is when he wore the Earnie the Otter mascot suit at the Grand Opening of the new Portage location. Jalin owns his own clothing line for Men and Women called Power Moves Only LLC. Check it out!
Justin is a freshman at Loyola University majoring in Finance and minoring in Sociology. He is a Commercial Loans Intern and one of the biggest take aways from this experience is that he’s improved his time management skills. He better understands the importance of being responsible with your time and with all of his tasks he’s been forced to use his time effectively. Justin grew up in Oakland, California and he hopes to go back one day and help out the community.
Samuel is a senior at Grand Valley State University double majoring in Finance and Accounting. He is a Commercial Loans Intern and one of the things he has learned is there are many steps involved in creating the best possible customer experience. He believes this experience will be a great reference when he is looking to secure a job post-graduation. A fun fact about Samuel is that he is a Michigan Football fan and a Michigan State Basketball fan. Go Green? Or Blue?
Devin Moore is a junior at Yale University majoring in Environmental Studies. He is a Branch Support Intern. He has had a major impact in his department by being one of 3 interns who helped work a yard sale that got extra supplies to other branches. He believes Mercantile will be a great resume builder and great experience for his future employment. A fun fact about Devin is that his favorite ice cream flavor is blue moon.
Makenna is a senior at Hillsdale College majoring in Financial Management. She is a Commercial Loans Intern. Her most memorable moment as an intern was attending the lunch and learn on bitcoin. She found the presentation to be fascinating and it sparked some interest and ongoing conversation in her office. Attending meetings with Treasury Sales Officers really provided her with a lot of knowledge about banking in general. A fun fact about Makenna is that she has two dogs and enjoys traveling!
Stay tuned for the next installment of our Intern Spotlight!
Written by Victor Sosa | Marketing Intern
Welcome back to our intern spotlight. Interns are in full swing with their work, projects, and volunteering. Let’s meet a few more!
Maria Acosta is a sophomore at Western Michigan University and is majoring in Accounting. She is a Card Services Intern and her most memorable moment was at the Steve Smith Golf Outing where she connected with a lot of people and created wonderful memories with her colleagues. A fun fact about Maria is she wants to explore more countries in Europe and wants to travel the world.
Allison Fike is a junior at Loyola University majoring in Accounting and Minoring in Finance. She is an Accounting Intern. She has learned how a bank’s day to day operations impact businesses and each branch. This knowledge will help her bring a different perspective to any future employment. She enjoys running in her spare time and is currently training to run the Chicago Marathon in October.
Brandon Fuller is a junior at Hope College double majoring in Economics and Mathematics. As a Mortgage Clerk Intern he’s learned a great deal about the mortgage process and specific products Mercantile offers. His biggest take away is realizing that the banking world is more lively and energetic than he envisioned, he didn’t realize the creativity and strategic thinking involved. For Brandon a guilty pleasure meal consists of a nice cup of green beans with a strawberry mango cooler from Culver’s.
Corey Gilmer is a senior at Grand Valley State University majoring in Finance. He is a Mortgage Clerk Intern and he’s learned just how complex banking can be; especially within the mortgage department. His most memorable moment thus far is when he was learning how to fax and received an email with a quote of Michael Scott from The Office saying “Fax? Why not just send it over on a dinosaur?” He found it even more hilarious when the email was marked as important. Corey is appreciating the time he has left in college and sometimes feels nostalgic about it.
Austin Gregory will be finishing his bachelor degree in Accounting at the end of summer at Northwood University and plans to attend graduate school there as well. As a Mortgage Clerk Intern, he’s learned a great deal about overdraft protection and how to close out loans. His understanding on banking has tremendously increased working as an intern. A fun fact about Austin is that he is the all-time leading scorer of the Ionia basketball program—Impressive!
Stay Tuned for our next installment of the Intern Spotlight!
From June through August 2018, 32 summer interns will be experiencing what it is like to be part of Mercantile Bank of Michigan. Interns are challenged with many projects, meetings, and tasks such as putting together presentations or sharing thoughts with their departments. Attending workshops is also an integral part of this experience. Topics vary from diversity training to developing networking skills. All in all, the program is filled with opportunities for growth and advancement. Misti Stanton, coordinator of the internship program sets the bar high for each intern; “I give you 150% and I expect the same in return at all times.” All of this makes this internship special, challenging and rewarding. Each week we will introduce you to a few of the interns and learn what each has to say about their experience being part of the Mercantile team.
Amari Brown is a sophomore at Hope College double majoring in Sociology and Social Work with a minor in Political Science. She joined the Human Resource team as an intern working directly under Misti Stanton, Diversity and Inclusion officer. Amari hopes this experience gives her the tools necessary to navigate her future career. A fun fact about Amari is that she enjoys participating in pageants. They have helped her tremendously with her communication skills and learning to be comfortable with who she is.
Kristin Cebelak is a sophomore at Ferris State University, who joined Mercantile as a Treasury Sales Intern. Her biggest take away from this internship is that a positive attitude is extremely important. She states that “A person can go far with a positive attitude and willingness to learn in the workplace”. She has done tasks such as data mining and analyzing of information to further assist treasury sales officers. In her spare time, she enjoys boating on Lake Michigan with family and is an avid game and movie enthusiast.
Michael Crenshaw, a sophomore at Michigan State University majoring in Finance, was selected as a Commercial Loans Intern. Crenshaw has learned a great deal about lending during his time at Mercantile. His biggest take away from this internship is the value of versatility in commercial lending. He says being a commercial lender requires one to have extraordinary people skills. Crenshaw not only cares a lot about the ins and outs of finance but, he has also watched every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie except Thor: Dark World—impressive!
Justin Cutts is a junior at Alma College double majoring in Health Care Administration and Public Health. As a Retail Loan Operations Intern, he feels that having Mercantile Bank on his resume can be an attention grabber towards his future employment. He believes all work is important for the success of the team so he does his part so others can narrow down their focus. Justin plays college football and couldn’t be more thrilled to lace up his cleats and put on his football pads as he gets closer to the start of his football season Go Scots!
Zachary DeVries, a senior at Calvin College majoring in Accounting and minoring in Economics, was selected as a Real Estate Valuation Risk Intern. He feels this internship experience has helped him grow professionally, and so far he feels he has learned a great deal about office etiquette and other professional aspects that go along with working at a bank. DeVries’ biggest take away thus far has been how much he has learned about the banking industry as a whole. A fun fact about Zachary is he is afraid of snakes more than any other animal. He has been swimming with stingrays and sharks in the ocean, but nothing frightens him more than snakes. He says he is basically Indiana Jones.
Glory Emmanuel, a senior at Calvin College double majoring in Accounting and Economics, was selected to be a Commercial Loan Operations Intern. He feels delighted to learn how eager his co-workers and supervisors were to teach him everything he needs to know and more. One of his most memorable moments thus far is when interns took a trip to the city’s office in Grand Rapids. He was pleased to see the efforts the city is making to educate other students about college and post college life as well as their youth development programs. A fun fact about Glory is he has spent most of his life living between Nigeria and the United States. Now that’s a lot of traveling!
Stay tuned for our next installment of the Intern Spotlight!
Helping fill the needs of people in our local communities is one of the most important things we do. Nikki Biermann, Branch Manager at our West Branch M76 office spearheaded a volunteer event for the Mobile Food Pantry – Food Bank of Eastern Michigan at the First United Methodist Church in West Branch. Volunteers from the Bank along with local Boy Scouts and people from the congregation helped to unload the semi, sort the food, and then distribute it to over 260 individuals. Nikki uncovered the need through her involvement with Boy Scouts and put together a group of volunteers to help. Thank you Nikki, Alan, Shantel, Karen, Bennie, Steve, Alta, Kayla and Debbie for your commitment to the community of West Branch!
Article Written By: John Schulte| SVP, Chief Information Officer| Mercantile Bank of Michigan
Just in time for the holidays, when finances and overspending can be stressful, the new Cash Flow module is now live in our online management tool, MercMoney®. The Cash Flow module offers an easy way to project out your income/expenses (and replace the old checkbook register).
MercMoney® is integrated into our online banking system and is a great way to empower you to take control of your finances and simplify your life. Budgeting, account aggregation and debt management are a just a few of the tools available, and best of all it’s free with any Mercantile checking or savings account.
It’s easy to set up MercMoney® and the Cash Flow module with a set-up wizard that identifies most re-occurring transactions, allows you to choose/edit future dated transactions and search history for other re-occurring items the wizard may miss. The wizard makes it easy (5-10 minutes) to replace a work intensive spreadsheet or manual process cash flow tracking process.
This module works both for people who want an easy, casual estimate of their cash flow and for those who keep detailed records. It can replace your current checkbook register, spreadsheet, Quicken or paper reconciliation process – with an automated and more efficient cash projection. The mobile version of this module is expected to be released in early 2017 so you can budget while on the go.
If you would like more information on MercMoney® and the new Cash Flow module visit https://www.mercbank.com/electronic/merc-money.asp or stop in to any of our branches.
Article Written By: Bob Kaminski| President & CEO| Mercantile Bank of Michigan
Giving back to the communities we serve has always been a priority to us at Mercantile Bank. We are honored to once again be rated as “Outstanding” by the FDIC in our Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) examination.
The CRA is a law that requires banks to help meet the credit needs of their communities for housing and other purposes, particularly in neighborhoods with low or moderate incomes, while maintaining safe and sound operations. An “Outstanding” rating is the highest available ranking and one which only about 5% of all banks achieve. We are proud of the fact that this is the third consecutive time we’ve received this rating, meaning that we’ve had nine years of “Outstanding” ratings.
The “Outstanding” rating is based on our performance in lending, investments and services, focusing on areas such as mortgages, small business, and community development lending and services. Our CRA evaluation made specific references to our strengths in lending, including our responsiveness to credit needs, and geographic distribution of small business and home mortgage loans throughout low and moderate income areas in the markets we serve.
We believe that this rating is the result of the hard work and dedication of our employees, who year after year contribute and invest in the communities where we live and work. To this end, we are consistently looking for ways to build stronger relationships with our community partners by providing accessible banking and lending services in all of the communities we serve.
Mercantile Payroll Services was established in 1999 as an enhancement to the products and services offered by Mercantile Bank of Michigan. The purpose was to further fulfill the business needs of Mercantile Bank customers. Sixteen years later, we are processing payroll for over 300 customers, and have expanded our market with the growth of the Bank.
Trusted in banking, payroll you can rely on – Many customers of Mercantile Payroll Services are also customers of Mercantile Bank. These customers have come to appreciate the relationship-oriented style of banking that Mercantile offers and are pleased to see this same philosophy embodied in Mercantile Payroll Services as well.
Dedicated customer service – Customers utilizing Mercantile Payroll Services are recipients of a high level of service also reflective of Mercantile Bank. Each customer is assigned a dedicated Payroll Processing Specialist who gains familiarity of their business and specific needs. This dedicated specialist is the first point of contact for any questions or concerns that arise in the ongoing payroll relationship.
Experience where it matters – Mercantile Payroll Services has a diverse staff with significant technical experience in Payroll. One third of the payroll staff maintains a Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) designation from The American Payroll Association (APA). Mercantile Payroll is a longstanding and active member of the APA at a national level, the West Michigan Chapter of the American Payroll Association, and the Independent Payroll Providers Association. Collectively, the staff is creative and solutions oriented; constantly looking for ways to enhance and create efficiencies for our customers.
Ever changing tax laws – Our Payroll Service has a dedicated Tax Specialist with over 30 years of payroll specific tax experience. This gives us the advantage of monitoring and understanding tax laws, employment laws and managing employee benefits. As part of our service, we handle payment of tax obligations accurately and timely. We file monthly, quarterly and annual payroll returns and submit new hire reporting on behalf of our customers.
A “Resource’ in Human Resources – For the small to mid-sized business owner, having the luxury of a full-time dedicated HR professional is not an option. Our Payroll Service provides both a partnership and a system to manage Human Resource information, Employee Self Service, Online Employee Benefit Enrollment, Retirement Contributions, Worker’s Compensation Coverage, and Third Party Benefits Administration.
No more paper timekeeping – We have a comprehensive Workforce Management system to assist our customers with their time and attendance needs. Hours can be manually entered online or punched with or without editing capabilities depending on the customer’s preference. Our solution offers up-to-date time off tracking, request process, calendar view and annual calendar or anniversary award. It will also help manage scheduling and/or labor and department allocations.
Regardless of the size of your business, or in what industry you compete in, Mercantile Payroll Services is here to help you with all the ongoing complexities of payroll administration.
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!