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Mercantile Bank of Michigan Leverages Unique Partners in Online and Mobile

John Schulte, Mercantile Bank's CIO, is never shy about partnering with new companies that have little or no experience working with banks.

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By offering a PFM product that does all those things, Mercantile can deepen its customer relationships and become the center of its customers' financial lives, Schulte says. "We want our customers to think of Mercantile as their primary bank," he says.

PFM tools have become much more sophisticated in the past few years, and their potential could be greatly enhanced with integration into mobile wallets, Schulte adds. "Then you're getting into real-time budgeting. You'll be able to see how a particular purchase on a whim might change your budget in real time," he says. "I think when you put that in front of consumers, they will see a real value in it."

[The Death of the NFC Mobile Wallet?]

And Schulte has already gotten to work on developing partnerships in the mobile wallet space. The bank has formed partnerships with PayPal, from Visa and with Google Wallet, he says. "We talk regularly with them about what they're doing in the mobile wallet space," he reports. "And if Apple would ever return a phone call, I'd love to talk to them, you know."

Proactively reaching out to new partners has paid off for Schulte, and he says his best advice for current or aspiring CIOs would be to never hesitate to make a cold call to a potential partner and present new ideas. Which means Apple probably can expect some more phone calls.

Personal Snapshot

John Schulte CIO

Mercantile Bank of Michigan

Years at bank: 16

Years in current position: 16

Education: BA in finance from Western Michigan University, ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking

Positions held: Credit manager, commercial lender at FMB First Michigan Bank (now Huntington), 1994-1997; CIO/senior VP and founding member of Mercantile Bank of Michigan, 1997-present

Hobbies: Traveling and spending time with his wife and two daughters

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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