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!
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.
Article Written By: Zach Roth | Creative Media Specialist | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
In order to provide our customers with information about the merger of Mercantile Bank Corporation and Firstbank Corporation, we’ve launched a website specific to communicating merger details. The micro-site will serve as the primary resource for all merger updates and information. Customers will be able to take note of key dates, learn about new features that will become available to them, and find answers to any questions that they may have. Additionally, videos are available of Mike Price (Mercantile Bank Chairman and CEO) and Tom Sullivan (Firstbank President and CEO) discussing how the merger came about and how it will benefit customers of Mercantile, Firstbank and Keystone.
Click HERE to visit the merger website.