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Engaging Employees

At Independent Bank, it starts with a great team! Our employees are truly our most important asset and we are grateful for their commitment and contributions, especially during the difficult year of 2020. Supporting this great team is essential to maintaining our culture and accomplished by our strong and effective HR team and programs. Our leadership and managers listen and collaborate as part of our inclusive culture.

Some key reasons why Independent Bank is a great place to work include:

Provide feedback that is acted upon

We care about the health of our employees and their families

Our inclusive culture encourages diversity of thought, opinions and ideas which are leveraged via collaboration. We are stronger together. Our diversity program furthers these efforts

Supporting each employee to reach their full potential. At Independent we believe in promoting opportunity, providing training, banking school and other developmental experiences

Our employee recognition programs demonstrate our commitment

We enjoy each other’s company and like to have fun

Supporting Customers

Independent is a great place to bank. Please follow the links to learn more about how we serve our clients:

  • Achieving financial independence

  • Supporting Homeownership and small businesses in the Communities we serve

Being Good Neighbors

We are excellent neighbors and supporters of the community, providing:

  • and helping wherever we can

Annual Employee Engagement Survey

For nearly a decade, Independent Bank has been collecting employee feedback on an annual basis regarding employee engagement. Over the past several years we have used a tool called Perception, which is integrated into our Human Resource Information System. The feedback focuses on several key metrics including Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion, Job Satisfaction, Onboarding, Retention, Work-Life Balance, Communication and Workplace Civility.

The employee survey is open for roughly two weeks in September, and the results of the survey are shared with our Leadership team to allow for high level questions pertaining to the entire organization. After all results have been shared with the executive/senior leadership group, the HR Business Partners develop a presentation strategy to share the survey results with the managers and employees of their respective business units.

During 2020 we had 81% employee participation in the survey. Partnering with our vendor, we updated the questions to allow us to better industry comparisons.

The metrics were measured on a scale of Strongly Disagree (1) to Strongly Agree (5) and were compared to other financial institutions. Our employees consistently rated us higher than the industry average in all but one category in which they rated us on par with the industry average.

Category Independent Bank Industry Average
Engagement 4.2 4.0
Diversity & Inclusion 4.0 3.9
Job Satisfaction 3.9 3.7
Onboarding 4.2 3.9
Retention 4.0 3.7
Work-Life Balance 4.0 3.7
Communication 3.9 3.7
Workplace Civility 4.2 4.2
Wellness Program

In 2020 we revamped our employee Wellness initiative, partnering with WellRight, to implement a robust Wellness portal that’s available to employees online and via a mobile app. Employees are encouraged to participate in a different wellness challenge every month, with focuses on nutrition, mindfulness, fitness, and finance. Employees are also able to choose from over 200 optional health goals and related challenges on the portal to customize their own wellness journeys. We were able to offer onsite yoga classes and lunch hour fitness classes at corporate locations in the first quarter of 2020. Even with the challenges 2020 brought, the number of employees eligible for Wellness rewards increased by over 250% from previous years. We intend to continue this momentum in 2021.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy and Initiatives

It Starts with Awareness:

Independent Bank has offered Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for many years. During 2020 we decided to take it to the next level. In partnership with Varnum LLP, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training course was developed for all Independent Bank employees. The first phase was live training for our employees in leadership or managerial positions. Given COVID-19 restrictions, the course was hosted by Attorneys from Varnum LLP via Zoom. Training sessions were

recorded for any leaders who were not able to attend the live training and for future new hires. A second phase of the training was designed and offered to all employees. 886 employees attended one of 41 live training sessions hosted by Varnum LLP via Zoom. Another 110 employees participated in the recorded sessions.

Surveys from participants indicated over 80% found the sessions helpful or very helpful.

It Continues with Behavior:

Following the DEI awareness training, our Human Resource team followed up with Interviewing training designed to address unconscious bias and ensure a structured consistent approach.

All employees involved in the interview process were educated regarding Independent Bank’s Talent Acquisition process, interview preparation, structural and behavioral based interview practices and potential unconscious bias pitfalls.

167 employees attended one of 15 live training sessions conducted by a member of the employee experience team. Going forward this live training will be conducted quarterly to ensure all new hires or those employees promoted into roles involved in the hiring and selection process complete this training.

Identifying Opportunities to Improve and Diversify our Team

We value diversity in thought, ideas and background. Our inclusive and collaborative culture helps us find the best solutions to meet the needs of our clients and company. Achieving more diversity will further our goals and help us serve our markets better and keep pace with changes.

In reviewing our employee population compared to the market workforce in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and other factors for each county in which we operate, during 2020 we identified 6 counties of focus for our diverse talent acquisition strategy. These counties were selected based upon our assessment that we have the best opportunity to make a positive impact in those communities.

The Talent Acquisition Team is building a strategy specific to each of these geographical areas to improve the diversity of the candidates we attract for open positions and internships. We are partnering with local minority & women clubs and organizations, universities and colleges and other organizations to market our open opportunities via newsletters, career fairs, email lists and events.

Investing in Our Employees

Investing in our employees and developing talent are key parts of our community bank culture. Activities in 2020 included:

  • Tuition Reimbursement: We support our employees’ efforts to continue their formal education.

We sponsor employee’s participation in the Graduate School of Banking and other related programs each year.

  • Retail Career Path Program: Our retail branch employees have clear opportunities for advancement in our Retail Career Path program. Commencing in July 2018 this program has 7 milestones with clear expectations, learning opportunities and established compensation plans to include 4 promotions. To date we’ve had 271 participants in the career path program with 222 achieving milestone 1, 206 completing milestone 2, 26 completing milestone 3, 28 completing milestone 4, 2 completing milestone 5 and 2 completing milestone 6.
  • Internships: In 2018 we launched our paid Internship Program. We have had 12 interns complete this program to date. Each intern was assigned to a department that aligned with their educational and professional interests, working on projects, and providing support for a12 week period. The group also completed a company assigned project. While interns continued working with the company during 1st Q’20, the summer 2020 program was suspended given COVID-19 restrictions. We plan to continue it in 2021.

  • Family Scholarship: In an effort to support the education of our employees’ children, we offer the Loren C. Adgate scholarship. In the 2020 calendar year, we awarded $10,000 in scholarships to four proud parents’ college students.
  • Employee Stock Ownership Program: At Independent Bank, our employees are also owners of the company.
Employee Recognition

In an effort to promote overall health and well-being through connection and improve the overall employee recognition experience, we partnered with Baudville RecogNation to develop and announce our new social platform for recognition, #IBProud, on November 1, 2020. Using this platform, employees can easily stay connected with their IB family by recognizing their important dates e.g. start dates, birthdays and anniversaries by sending an ecard. They may also further celebrate a coworker’s shout out to someone by emphasizing, commenting or liking their recognition of another employee. Through the close of 2020, 90% of our employees had logged into the platform sending over 1,000 ecards.


The Rose Award provides employee recognition from fellow employees. Key to delivering excellent service to our customers is providing it internally to each other. Each recipient receives a Rose pin and certificate. In 2020, 1,735 Rose Awards were distributed.

We Like to Have Fun

At Independent Bank, having fun has always been part of our culture. This is also why our customers love banking with us.

Personalized Service

Everyone is unique, with different dreams, challenges, and goals. That is why we created the One Account in 2020, an account that can be customized for each client!

For additional details on our One Account and other deposit banking services, please click here.

Helping Clients Reach Their Goals

Helping clients reach their goals to be Financially Independent

In 2020 we redesigned our mobile and electronic banking which will be rolled out in the first half of 2021. These new platforms, coupled with the One Account, empower our customers to take control and make good decisions by having easy, real time access to their finances.

Click here to learn additional details on our personal banking services.

Community Development

Supporting Homeownership in the Communities we serve

Independent Bank understands that homeownership is viewed by many of our customers as an important way to build personal wealth. We have a strong mortgage presence in Michigan and Ohio, including a wide array of products designed to meet the needs of our customers. In 2020, we originated over 7,700 mortgage loans totaling $1.82 billion, with approximately 40% of loans helping customers purchase a new home and 60% to refinance into lower interest rates. In addition, we support homeowners with home equity and home improvement loans.

Independent Bank offers over 50 loan products/programs. Many of these products are intended to expand homeownership opportunities.

In addition to this wide array of products, Independent Bank has made a $1 million pledge to assist borrowers in low or moderate income areas. More specifically the Bank initiated the My Home Reward Program in late 2020 in which we waive certain loan closing costs to make it easier for lower income borrowers to afford a mortgage. We’ve had strong interest in this program to date. Please follow this link to see additional details on our mortgage lending services.

Homeowners Assistance

The financial impact of the Pandemic was widely felt in our communities during 2020. Our Homeowners Assistance team was there to help, aiding over 1,400 retail loan clients with forbearances. For details regarding our homeowner’s assistance options, please follow the link.

community development
community development

Supporting Small Businesses in the Communities we serve

Small businesses enrich our communities and serve as a significant source for products and services as well as employment. These businesses are often essential to their respective community. Independent Bank offers a broad set of commercial treasury and lending services to the communities we serve. The Bank originated 545 new loans totaling $225 million to small businesses in addition to the 2,000 loans totaling $260 million provided through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program in 2020.

Our commercial loan portfolio is also very diverse, as we work to assist our community members. During 2020, we started a project to identify and encourage diversity on an ongoing basis. Initially we identified the following relationships in our portfolio:

  • Veteran owned: $12,975,183
  • Woman owned: $75,647,806
  • Minority owned: $58,088,341
  • Disabled owned: $2,414,000

Assisting Small Business Owners

During 2020, many of our commercial clients struggled to keep their businesses going throughout the Pandemic. We extended commercial forbearances to approximately 400 commercial clients.

Further, we assisted many businesses with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the Small Business Association's program. During 2020 we provided $260 million in round #1 loans. In early 2021 we launched the 2nd phase of the program, providing additional support.

Click here to learn additional details on our commercial lending services.
Community Investments

At Independent Bank we have a history of investing in our communities in many ways. One mechanism is by purchasing investments that benefit our communities. A recent example is our $2 million affordable housing investment.

Read More >
Commitment to Volunteerism

Financial Literacy

At Independent Bank, we see the tremendous importance of financial literacy within our communities. Our employees enjoy taking part in a variety of outreach activities throughout the year. We regularly volunteer with Junior Achievement, spending time in local classrooms reading to children and educating them on financial literacy.

We also created a special outreach effort for our young customers. All children age 12 and under who open a savings account with Independent Bank are automatically enrolled in our Swift Savers Kids Club. Kids Club members receive.

newsletters throughout the year with various savings tips, financial learning games, as well as other fun activities that help make learning about money and saving fun.

We are very honored that our financial literacy efforts have frequently been recognized by the Michigan Bankers Association over the years. For the past several years, Independent Bank has received the Michigan Bankers Association Financial Literacy Award presented at their annual Michigan Bankers Association conference in the spring each year.

financial literacy
financial literacy
financial literacy

Community Connections

While the amount and variety of the activities were restricted due to COVID concerns, in the 2020 calendar year, 608 employees logged 8,411 volunteer hours as an on-going commitment to give back to the communities in which we operate.

On October 12, 2020, we had 794 employees participate in 88 volunteer projects supporting 82 non-profit organizations including donations totaling $110,000, as part of our fifth annual Making a Difference Day. To ensure this company-wide day of giving was able to go on in spite of a global pandemic, additional safety protocols were developed to follow in partnership with the non-profit organizations we supported including the completion of readiness assessments for each project to determine our protocols, as laid out in the Safe Work Playbook, could be adhered to during the day of the event.

Additionally, to further improve our employees’ experience related to giving, we announced our new Community Connection landing page on our employee SharePoint site in September. This page includes up-to-date information regarding volunteering, as well as helpful links to track employee volunteer hours, find volunteer opportunities, learn about our Community Connection rewards program and more.

Corporate Giving