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 At Mercantile Bank of Michigan we are changing the impersonal and outdated way of drive thru banking by rolling out a new fleet of Virtual Banking Machines (VBMs).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
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!
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!
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: 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.