Article Written By: Kyle Kunnen | SVP, Information Security Officer | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

Mobile devices have become a significant part of our lives. It wasn’t that long ago, cell phones were a privilege afforded by only a few. Today, virtually everyone carries a mobile device. The allure of always being connected and immediate access to virtually anyone or everything is immense. This additional access while great is not free from risk. Because we use our mobile devices to shop, bank and conveniently access private information, it has become even more imperative to take added precaution. Whether it is a cell phone, tablet, or other mobile device, they typically have the ability to enable a screen locking feature. Enabling this feature not only requires a code for entry, it also encrypts the contents stored on the device. This is a great first step in securing your mobile device providing assurance your information remains protected if lost or stolen.

Below are some additional items to consider as you use your mobile device:

  • Never jailbreak your mobile device – While it seems to add functionality to bypass restrictions set by the manufacturer, it also greatly diminishes the devices security.
  • Only use device approved app stores – The Google Play or Marketplace and Apple’s App Store. Other places exist to download apps that appear to be the same as those found in the traditional app stores, but are often repackaged solutions with malicious intent. 
  • Remove no longer used applications – This will not only free up space, but reduce the number of possible applications that could someday become a vulnerability. 
  •  Keep your device operating system and apps updated – Vendors often release patches to add new features or functionality. In addition, they often deliver important fixes to known security issues. For convenience, you can configure your device to apply these updates automatically when they become available.

Check back next week for more information on the next Mercantile Bank Security Minute.

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.

Community Bank

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.

fintech financial management tool

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.

 

Mercantile Bank interns Maddie Hugen and David Schroeder took on the task of creating a video that would give an overview of their experience at Mercantile Bank.  They collaborated with fellow Merc interns throughout Michigan to create this video showcasing their collective experience.

Exciting news! We are upgrading our online and mobile banking experience!  Improved with you in mind, this new design will make it faster and easier to use than ever before.  With enhanced security, new features and expanded functionality, it will offer convenient access to your banking information whenever and wherever you need it.  This upgrade will occur on September 14, 2016.  We encourage you to visit our Readiness page:  https://www.mercbank.com/upgrade/  to find out more details. 

 

At Mercantile Bank, you’ll find a home mortgage experience unlike any other.  We provide personalized service that goes far beyond appraisals, escrows, and finance rates.  We’re with you step by step through the entire mortgage process to make sure that you get the home financing program that meets your needs and lifestyle.  Visit our newly designed website to find out all the ways our team can help you.  Whether it’s a new purchase, or refinancing your existing home, discover why we’re the premier choice for all sorts of home loans.  *All loans subject to credit and collateral approval.

https://www.mercbank.com/mortgage/index.asp

 

An essential part of our cornerstone values is to strengthen the communities we serve throughout Michigan.   We accomplish this in many ways including our commitment to revitalizing our neighborhoods as well as creating and promoting economic prosperity by investing in industry, agriculture and real estate.  We also have a relentless drive to help provide affordable housing, supporting housing for low and moderate income families, persons with developmental disabilities and the homeless.

Our most significant impact goes beyond financial investments.  Our hands-on approach to community engagement has helped to support the people in our communities in countless ways.  Over the past year, Mercantile Bank employees have volunteered a total of 30,140 hours.  That’s an average of 62.53 hours per employee.  We’re proud of the efforts of our team throughout the communities we serve. 

 Watch our Community Impact Report video to learn more about all the ways we’re impacting our communities.

 

 

Mercantile Bank´s Giving Together program is another way for us to give back to the communities we serve. Non-Profit organizations are able to apply to be considered for a chance to receive a donation decided by the public during a weeklong voting period at www.mercantilegivingtogether.com or at our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mercbank

Congratulations to the most recent winners of our Giving Together Program! 

First Place: The Geek Group National Science Center

Second Place: West Michigan Veterans Assistance Program

Third Place: Foster Closet of Michigan-Isabella County Branch

Thank you to all of our finalists for the meaningful work that you do in our communities.  It’s our pleasure to help you in your mission. 

We are currently accepting applications through September 26th for Health & Human Service related organizations. To find out more about our Giving Together Program and to apply, visit us at: www.mercantilegivingtogether.com                                                                                                                                           

 

Old Town Lansing was the 2015 Community and Economic Development Giving Together Program recipient of a $5,000 donation. We visited with them recently to see how they are doing and how the Giving Together grant made an impact on them and the community they serve. See what Jamie Schriner-Hooper, Executive Director of Old Town Commercial Association had to say about their positive experience last year.

We are currently accepting applications from non-profit organizations with a Community and Economic Development focus. If you would like to see how the Mercantile Giving Together program can impact your organization and community, please visit www.mercantilegivingtogether.com to apply by June 27.

eNewsletter, community bank, information, quarterly, spring 2016ID Theft, protection, Deluxe, Provent,In 2014, over 25% of U.S. consumers were notified that their personally identifiable information had been compromised in a data breach – over 2.5 times more than in 2013.1 That’s why we’ve teamed up with Deluxe to offer Provent ID Protect Plus.  Membership for this program is $4.95 per month and includes great services such as;

-Monitoring to scan the Internet’s black market chat rooms for your personal and credit information.

-An online vault to store sensitive information with top level data security, with 24/7 online customer access.

-A certified Resolution Specialist to manage your fraud or identity theft case.

-Daily credit monitoring and alerts to notify you of activities associated with your credit file.

No one wants to be the victim of identity theft, so why not protect yourself with the help of your trusted financial partner.  Enrollment is easy, so come in and talk to us today! 

Click here to learn more!

 

The Mercantile Bank Leadership Camps featuring Kirk Cousins took place in April. Students from Grand Rapids and Lansing Schools were invited to spend a day learning about self-awareness, communication, and teamwork with pro quarterback, Kirk Cousins. It was an impactful day for students and volunteers alike. We have an incredible group of young leaders here in our communities! Thank you to everyone involved in making these powerful events possible!

 Loans, Mortgage, Cars, RV, Boat, House, Construction

Mercantile Bank is excited to offer some great mortgage, construction and consumer loan specials! 

Construction Loans- are you thinking about building that dream home?  Ask about our convenient one-time close construction to completion loan.  This great loan option provides you with a 16 year loan, with a one year construction and a 15 year repayment period.

First Time Homebuyers*- we offer a wide range of options for those looking to purchase their first home!  For a limited time, we have special rate options, access to up to $10,000 in down payment assistance, and we’re waiving the origination fees (up to $545 value.)

1.99% Consumer Loans (2.66% APR)** It’s back by popular demand! If you’re in the market for that new boat, truck or RV, let us show you how affordable it can be.        

Stop in and talk to our friendly, knowledgeable loan officers and find out how we can help you find the loan option that best fits your needs.

 

*Please consult a Loan Officer for complete details. All loans subject to credit and collateral approval. Waived origination fee available through October 1, 2017. All loan products and programs are subject to additional terms and conditions. Down payment assistance available through the Homeownership Opportunities Program for households at or below 80% of area median income. To be considered a first time home buyer the purchaser and purchaser’s spouse may not have owned a primary residence 3 years prior to purchase. Home buyer must contribute a minimum of $1000 toward the purchase and complete pre-purchase counseling; grant is repayable if the home is sold or refinanced within five years. Funding based on availability. Other restrictions may apply for down payment funds.

**Annual percentage rate (APR) is based on a $10,000 loan with 47 payments of $219.83 and 1 payment of $220.33, includes $135 processing fee. Loans subject to credit approval. All loan terms and conditions apply. 48 month maximum term. Automatic payment from checking account is required. Rate only applies to personal secured loans with maximum collateral age of 10 years and does not apply to real estate secured loans. Minimum credit score of 690 for advertised rate; APR may be higher based on credit qualifications. Offer valid on new loans and does not apply to refinancing of existing Mercantile Bank loans. Offer cannot be combined with any other loan discounts or offers. Limited time offer available as of 05/16/16, subject to change without notice. Contact a Mercantile lender for complete details.

Shredding, recycle, free, service,

The safety and security of your important documents is important to you, and so it’s important to us.  That’s why we’ve brought back our annual free Shred Day events!  Bring us your unneeded, sensitive documents to take advantage of this free service.  Check our website to find a location close to you.  It’s just one more way, we’re here to help you! 

Click here to find dates and locations near you!

-1 Javelin Strategy & Research, 2015 Identity Protection Services Scorecard- Direct-To-Consumer Market, April 2015                                                                                                                                                                     

It was a great start to our 2016 Giving Together Program! We enhanced our program in several ways, doubling the number of organizations who can compete for votes from 10 to 20, and adding a 2nd and 3rd place winner.  We just wrapped up our first voting period focusing on Schools and Education and are happy to announce our winners:

$5,000 1st Place Winner- Holt Public Schools (Holt, MI)

$1,500 2nd Place Winner: Calvin Christian Schools (Grandville, MI)

$500 3rd Place Winner: Ogemaw Kids Club (West Branch, MI)

It was a fun week of voting and we’d like to thank all of the schools and non-profit organizations that participated. You are all winners in our book!

The next application period begins on May 23 and continues through June 27. The focus for this period is Community & Economic Development. Non-profit organizations can apply at www.MercantileGivingTogether.com. The selected organizations will be announced on July 8 and voting will be the week of July 18-25th. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates throughout the year!

Winter 2016 eNewsletter

Research shows that in recent years 85% of the world’s population shop online and the average American uses electronic media up to 11 hours a day.  Spending time online is a quick and convenient way to communicate, get our news and shop.  However, it can be dangerous if we’re not vigilant in protecting our private information.   

With help from our friends at NerdWallet, we’ve put together a list of important steps to keep in mind to help protect yourself from online dangers. 

1. Do your online shopping/banking from home

You’ve probably taken steps to secure your home network, so it makes sense to do most of your online activity there. Public computers are convenient, but be careful about entering passwords and sensitive account information when using these machines. Many will keep your login data in the web browser history, so after you leave, the next person who uses the computer might be able to see what you typed and access your account.

If you’re on your own laptop or mobile device but using public Wi-Fi to access the Internet, you could run into similar issues. You can’t be sure the network you’re on is secure, and if it’s not, a lurking hacker could see any information you send. When you use public Wi-Fi, consider updating the settings on your device to make sure you don’t automatically join networks you won’t use regularly.

If you have to shop or bank online while away from home, consider using a virtual private network, or VPN, service to protect your account information.

2. Install antivirus software

Many antivirus companies will send security patches to your computer automatically, so you don’t have to be a tech genius to get the most up-to-date protection. In addition to installing an antivirus program, it’s a good idea to check your operating system, web browser and mobile devices to make sure they also have the latest software updates.

3. Be smart with account passwords

Strong passwords include both upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, and they can’t easily be guessed. Security experts recommend that you change your passwords regularly — at least once every few months.

4. Don’t skimp on mobile security

Sometimes you may need to shop or bank online while you’re on the go. When using smartphones, tablets and laptops, you can help protect your accounts by adding a password to lock your device screen. Also, install a “find your phone” tool to help locate your device if it’s misplaced. Many such tools give you the ability to disable your device remotely, in case it can’t be recovered.

 5. Remember, “secure” starts with an S

Before sending over account numbers or other sensitive information, check to see whether your browser address bar begins with “https” instead of “http”. The extra “S” literally stands for “secure,” because the page is encrypted. In addition to checking for the “S,” you can also look to see whether the webpage has a seal from such organizations as the Better Business Bureau, Trusted or VeriSign, which means the site is more likely to be trustworthy.

Margarette Burnette is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @margarette and on Google+.

 

Debit Card protection

We are proud to offer our customers an innovative new service!  CardValet is a mobile app that lets you control your debit card usage and spending on the go.  This free app is available on the Android App store or iTunes.

Exciting features of this product include

•      Card usage controls: Establish spending limits to allow transactions up to a certain dollar amount and decline transactions when amounts exceed pre-defined thresholds.  Transactions can also be monitored or controlled for specific merchant categories such as gas, hotel, travel, groceries or electronic stores. 

•      Card on/off setting:  When the card is “on,” transactions are allowed in accordance with the usage control settings you’ve established.  When the card is “off,” no purchases or withdrawals are approved until the card is turned back “on.”  This control can be used to disable a lost or stolen card.

•     Location-based controls:  Restrict transactions to merchants located within a certain range of your location (using your phone’s GPS); transactions requested outside of the specified area can be declined.

•      Fraud protection: Report or restrict PIN and signature transactions, enabling you to manage, track and report specific types of transactions and quickly detect unauthorized activity.

•      Interactive alerts: Real-time alerts can be sent when a card is used, when a transaction is approved and exceeds any of the permitted use policies, or when a card transaction has been attempted but is declined.  

•      Financial features: Conduct limited card-related transactions wherever you are, any time of the day, including real-time balance inquiries and locating ATM’s.

If you have questions or would like find out all the ways that CardValet can help you, visit our website at: https://www.mercbank.com/cards/cardvalet.asp.  You can also stop in to any of our offices for full details.

Community Investment is “Outstanding” at Mercantile Bank

 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. 

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.

community bank michigan news kirk cousinsWashington Redskins Quarterback MSU Football NFL Kirk CousinsWe’re proud to be partnering with pro Quarterback Kirk Cousins and wish him success this season.  Our new commercial starring Kirk is making quite an impression and has even been featured by Sports Illustrated!

nonprofit contest to win money

Giving Together Contest WinnerMercantile Bank´s Giving Together Facebook program is a way for us to give back to the communities we serve. Each quarter we give away $5,000 to one Nonprofit organization. To be considered for the program, Nonprofit organizations must complete a Grant Application. Ten organizations will be selected by Mercantile Bank from the submissions each quarter to compete for the public vote on our Facebook page.  The organization that receives the most votes during the week long voting period will receive a $5,000 donation.  Visit http://www.mercantilegivingtogether.com for more info.

Congratulations to our recent recipient of the Giving Together Grant; Roscommon Area District Library! 

 

EMV credit card debit card smart card community bank

We take your security seriously and will soon be offering an easy and new way to help you protect yourself from fraud.  Chip card; also called EMV cards contain an embedded microchip which produces a unique code that cannot be used again; adding an additional layer of fraud protection when making purchases.  Mercantile Bank debit and credit card holders whose current cards expire soon will begin seeing their new cards beginning in October 2015.                    

For more information regarding the new Chip cards you can visit:

mercbank.com

gochipsanddips.com

emv-connection.com   

Facebook twitter youtube

Want to stay up to date on events happening in your community?  Follow us on social media to get the latest stories, photos and more!

                   Community Bank on Twitter - Mercantile Bank     bank commercial and more community bank videos

Be sure to check us out at the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids during the Bankers vs. Bankers Basketball game, where we’ll put our skills to the test as we play Macatawa Bank in this fun charity event!

Community education participation

 We know that by sharing our financial expertise we can help children, families and businesses achieve their goals.  We have partnered with schools to teach young children the importance of saving money and teenagers the basics of personal finance.  We also work with nonprofit organizations to provide financial education classes to help families learn to make good financial decisions and to work through financial problems.  We also help entrepreneurs and small business owners strengthen their businesses by reviewing business plans and sharing our knowledge.

Do you have questions?

Do you have questions that we can answer or is there a topic you’d like us to cover in an upcoming issue?  Send us an email and let us know!  Email us at: marketing@mercbank.com