Women Who Move West Michigan – 2021 – Special Section
Grand River Bank
4471 Wilson Ave. SW | Grandville, MI 49418 | 616-929-1600
With more than 30 years of banking and financial experience, Liz Bracken eagerly embraced the challenge of opening an independently owned bank in the midst of the Great Recession in April 2009. Since then, Bracken has worn many hats as president, CFO, and COO of Grand River Bank, a locally focused, relationship-driven banking institution.
Bracken says it was an opportunity to build a bank on a cultural foundation she and the other founders were passionate about: to treat others the same way they would want to be treated. Today, that core operating principal of mutual respect and caring for others has afforded them tremendous growth and success. “We succeed when our team, our customers, and our community succeed,” she says.
Grand River Bank’s mission has always been to provide an exceptional experience for customers and a fair return to investors, and create an environment where team members thrive. Serving the West Michigan community is top of mind for the team.
“Our focus has always been on delivering a more personalized service to our clients. We like to say we craft solutions for people — and we can,” Bracken says. “At Grand River Bank, we’re really about making and building relationships with our customers and we try to be of service to the community as a whole. That’s the hallmark of who we are.”
To extend that mission and to reach a broader audience, Grand River Bank recently opened a second location in the Ada-Cascade area at 50 Crahen Ave. NE, Grand Rapids. While the bank has many customers in the region already, providing a full-service second location that is more convenient to the southeast quadrant of the city is expected to increase its customer base. The bank has been able to grow the business, nonprofit, and government sectors more quickly with their courier service, which brings the bank to the customer.
“Many people prefer to use technology for their banking,” Bracken says. “But, if they have a problem, they want to be able to speak with a person who can help solve it as quickly and efficiently as possible. We blend the convenience of digital tools with in-house support to help people when they need it.”
Grand River Bank is also passionate about working with local nonprofits. They strive to be a partner for them from volunteering, to matching employee donations, to serving as board members, to offering competitive pricing on products and services. “This is something that we feel we should be doing, but also something that we love to do,” Bracken says.
“We appreciate the work that our nonprofits do and how hard their jobs are. We believe that by pricing our products and services reasonably, they can use more of their money to support their mission.”
As a woman in the banking arena, Bracken shares the same struggles as many female professionals. “I’ve had to invest a lot of time and energy to get where I wanted to go, even foregoing my original aspirations, but banking has provided me a wonderful career and I’ve been fortunate to work with some really fantastic people along the way,” Bracken says. “The reality is you have to fight for yourself. The world will never value you more than you value yourself.”