Since its founding in 1997, Mercantile Bank of Michigan has proven that banking can be much more than dollars and cents. They have shown banking can also be focused on community engagement and forming close partnerships with clients.
That was no more evident than this past year when Mercantile helped coordinate over $700 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for more than 3,000 businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That program kept a lot of jobs in place that could have went in another direction. Our people worked around the clock to help get those PPP loans,” says Mark Augustyn, Chief Lending Officer at Mercantile.
During that time period, customers remarked they never knew the importance of banking relationships until the pandemic, according to Augustyn.
Still considered a “community bank,” Mercantile now has over 40 branches in Michigan and recently expanded mortgage services into Ohio. Despite the growth, Augustyn says they continue to fight relentlessly to remain independent, rather than being absorbed by one of the super-regional banks. This is because of their core belief: customers and employees, and the communities they live in, are best served by financial institutions with local ties.
For many businesses, it is those local ties that will make a community bank the better fit. Many of their team members and lending officers have been with the company for over 20 years and have worked with hundreds of local businesses. Those deep and local ties have also led to local networking. Augustyn says one of their specialties is creating linkages between local businesses and, over the years, they have introduced investors to businesses, tenants to landlords and companies that have bought each other or merged.
Mark Augustyn, Chief Lending Officer for Mercantile Bank of Michigan, helped facilitate over $700 million in PPP loans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mercantile also takes pride in its efforts to volunteer in the communities they serve with more than 30,000 employee volunteer hours committed most years.
“In 2020, we had to pause much of our in-person activities due to COVID-19 procedures but our team members were able to serve 523 non-profit organizations with more than 12,400 hours of volunteer service,” says Augustyn. Mercantile also donated more than $800,000 statewide to non-profits, with $100,000 specifically addressing the food and housing crisis in Michigan by supporting local food pantries and homeless shelters.
And on 3/3/21, Mercantile committed $250,000 in funding to its Extra Credit Home Buyer Assistance Program, which provides eligible first-time home buyers up to $3,000 that can be applied towards loan closing costs. On top of that commitment, Mercantile has facilitated $150 million in community development lending and more than $650,000 in grants for affordable housing assistance.
So whether it’s getting emergency funds to struggling businesses during a global pandemic or volunteering at local non-profit organizations, Mercantile provides service that goes above and beyond the typical expectation of an impersonal banking relationship.
“That’s what being a community bank is all about,” Augustyn says.
Mercantile Bank of Michigan is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since March 2019. Visit online: mercbank.com.