West Michigan community banks rank as national social media ‘trailblazers’


A shot of Mercantile Bank’s Facebook page. Photo via fb.com

Two local banks are now officially adept at social relations.

Mercantile Bank of Michigan and ChoiceOne Bank were named this week as two of the Top 50 Community Bank Leaders in social media nationwide by the Independent Community Bankers of America, and were the only institutions in Michigan to make the list.

The ICBA ranking is its first and the national organization said the top 50 highlight the “social media trailblazers” among the financial industry.

“Building a brand goes beyond a perceived geographical footprint; social media opens the doors of opportunity even wider for community banks,” said ICBA Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Chris Lorence in a statement. “Consumers now expect fresh content, insight and consistent interaction with brands they are connected to online, and community banks are no exception.”

The ICBA selected the top 50 from nearly 7,000 banks across the nation that were eligible for the list. Those making the list were chosen on their engagement with fans and followers, the content distributed on their social media platforms, the number of fans or followers they have, and how often new postings are made.

Mercantile Bank is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin.

ChoiceOne Bank is active on Facebook.

In addition to Mercantile’s ranking, ICBA named the bank’s John Schulte, senior vice president and chief information Officer, one of the nation’s top 20 community bank “influencers” on Twitter. Schulte joined two bankers at the Bank of Ann Arbor as the only individuals selected from Michigan.

Mercantile Bank has its headquarters on Leonard Street NE in Grand Rapids and has offices in Holland and Lansing. Mercantile was founded in 1997.

ChoiceOne Bank has its headquarters at 109 E. Division in Sparta and 11 branch offices at various Kent County locations, including Cedar Springs, Rockford and Comstock Park. ChoiceOne Bank’s roots go back to 1895.

Lorence said several of the Top 50 banks that made the list will be featured in the September issue of ICBA’s Independent Banker. The ICBA, which represents community banks, is based in Washington, D.C.

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