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.
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.
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: 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!
Article Written By: Robert Kaminski | President & Chief Operating Officer | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
What is culture? When asked this question, many people pause and think, and perhaps struggle with putting their thoughts into words. Culture is one of those things that may not readily be seen or heard by some, but over time it becomes apparent. Webster’s defines culture as “the set of values, goals and practices that characterizes an institution or organization”. Cultural characteristics define an organization from the standpoint of its staff members, management, customers, vendors and anyone who comes in contact with the organization.
Each year around this country businesses come and businesses go. There are many reasons why businesses do not succeed. While some of these reasons may be beyond the control of the organization, many others can be traced to an undefined or poor culture. Culture provides the means by which a business conducts its affairs. It sets expectations for communication within and outside of the organization, for delivery of products and services, understanding and commitment to the organizational mission, the desire to be the best organization possible, and the need to approach every facet of corporate responsibility with a sense of urgency while striving for excellence. An appropriate organizational culture provides a roadmap for which the trail to success can be engineered. A bad culture can do just the opposite, and pose a hindrance that prevents the organization from reaching its goals.
One measurement that I take in trying to understand a company’s culture happens when I walk through its doors. Have you ever entered a business and quickly had the feeling that your presence was the most important thing to those employees on that day? Conversely, have you had the misfortune to enter an establishment and it seems that you are totally invisible? What about calling in on the phone and trying to get an issue resolved and being transferred multiple times, having to tell your story again and again? I know how you have felt in each of these situations because I, like you have experienced them all. These are the kinds of situations, both positive and negative, are often reflective of an organization’s culture.
Competition is extremely fierce in most areas of our economy and businesses continually seek an advantage. This environment is also present in our industry as community banking remains a very competitive arena. One of our main challenges is that many financial institutions have resorted to acquiring customers mainly on price. This is a rather precarious position because leading with price does not often facilitate the building of customer loyalty, nor does it provide a solid foundation for developing deeply rooted customer relationships. Mercantile takes a different approach to community banking. While we always present a competitively priced package to our clients and prospective clients, we are interested in acquiring clients who want to have a relationship where they view their bankers as trusted advisors. We strive to be a banker that can fulfill all of our customers’ needs and exceed their expectations. This approach to banking is reflective of our culture.
At Mercantile Bank, we are very protective and proud of our culture. It is something that was a critical fiber in the fabric of our company when it was formed over 15 years ago. Mercantile Bank’s culture starts with integrity and ethics; this is a non negotiable in our organization. Anyone who does not embrace and demonstrate these qualities will not be associated with our company. After these values, there are other characteristics that are important for Mercantile employees to possess that provide strong ties to and help define our culture. Some key words/phrases that provide a glimpse into the Mercantile culture are multifaceted, initiative, optimistic, problem solvers, adaptable, and embracing change. When our employees demonstrate these behaviors, clients quickly get feeling that Mercantile is an organization that they can count on. They know that Mercantile will not only offer industry leading products but they will also provide a staff that will be there for the customer, to understand their banking needs, provide assistance and add value.
A successful and appropriate culture can provide the environment that, when combined with a well conceived business plan and an excellent team of employees will allow an organization the opportunity to reach its corporate goals and objectives.