Dow Jones CHICAGO — Mercantile Bank Corp. of Grand Rapids, Mich., expects to report third-quarter per-share earnings of 29 cents to 33 cents, a range that would top analysts’ expectations, according to its president and chief executive, Michael Price.

Third-quarter assets of more than $475 million were up 8% from the second quarter and 16% from the first, Mr. Price said. “Our interest expenses remain low, and asset quality is good,” he said. “We had no chargeoffs for the third quarter.”

Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial expect the company to post per-share earnings of 27 cents.

Mercantile, which currently has one branch in addition to the head office bank, plans to add another branch in Grand Rapids, Mr. Price said.

“We’ll never be a bank that has a ring of branches around the city,” he said. “We think it’s more efficient to concentrate on alternative banking, such as telephone and Internet banking, than to add brick-and-mortar locations.”

The bank began offering a full line of online transaction services last month, Mr. Price said. “We waited until the technology was ready. We didn’t need to be the first Internet bank.”

Adding special services is less costly than adding branches, he said. “We have a courier service to pick up deposits and drop off information at customers’ homes. And, we reimburse customers — up to $15 a month — for using other banks’ ATMs.”

Mercantile would be interested in expanding through a purchase or merging with another regional bank, Mr. Price said. “We’re keeping our eyes open, but we’re very picky.”

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