Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Posts First Half Net Income of $6,104,872

WINONA, Minn. – Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) posted net income of $6,104,872 for the first half of 2013, according MFGI President & CEO Richard L. Mahoney.

“The positive work of our employees over the past several years and over the first six months of this year continue to enhance the value of Merchants Bank,” Mahoney said. “I look forward to their continued great work as we move toward meeting our goals.”

Net income through the first six months is still ahead of plan. It is slightly behind last year’s net income of $6,183,933. Merchants had record profit in 2012 with net income of $12.439 million. Current asset size is $1.3 billion, and Merchants remains in an excellent equity position.

“We continue to look closely at opportunities that become available and fit with our long-term plan,” Mahoney said. Mahoney recently announced his retirement at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by Winona Charter President and MFGI Executive Vice President Rod Nelson.

Merchants stock is closely held, but is available to the public when shares become available. There are approximately 400 shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Merchants also has an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP).

Password Security Tip

While your children’s names, pet’s name, address, phone number, favorite sports team, favorite actor or actress, vacation spot, etc., are very memorable, there’s one thing they are not: good passwords. Most criminals can figure them out without much difficulty, and those criminals can also find those passwords when written down. So, what do you think is a secure password? A mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. A good tip is including at least three special characters before, after or within a password. For additional security tips, visit our website.

FHA Loans: What You Should Know

If you want to buy a home and are wondering what is an FHA loan, here’s an answer. An FHA loan is a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration. Generally speaking, more people can qualify for an FHA loan than a conventional loan with income limits being less restrictive than some programs. However, there are limits on how much you can borrow. You’re limited to smaller mortgage loans relative to home prices in your area. To qualify for an FHA loan, you’ll need to have a reasonable debt to income ratio. Simply said, the lender needs to know that you can afford to pay back the loan. In addition, you have to have decent credit. So, how do you know? The first step is to come to any of the mortgage loan professionals at the Merchants Bank location most convenient for you. Click here for a list of our locations and hours. Loans are subject to credit approval.

Still want to know more? View our informational video: FHA Loans: What You Should Know

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” Receives $396 in Merchants Bank’s 10 for 10 Celebration

ONALASKA, WIS. – “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” was the June recipient of Merchants Bank in Onalaska’s 10 for 10 program, receiving a check of $396 for contributions made in June.

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” is a collaborative effort of the YWCA and the Carilee Fund at Gundersen Lutheran.

“It’s a great cause, and we enjoyed raising funds for this program, as well as raising awareness for the July 5 event,” said Steve Christiansen, President of Merchants Bank in Onalaska. Christiansen and several other team members from Merchants Bank took part in this year’s walk.

The 10 for 10 celebration features a different area nonprofit each month. Merchants grants the nonprofit $10 a day for each day of the month and matches up to another $10 a day that the nonprofit receives in donations over the month. Merchants granted $300 for June and matched another $48 dropped off at the Bank for the benefit of “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.”

“Anything we can do to raise awareness of domestic violence is well worth our time. We are happy to help in any way we can,” Christiansen said.

The July nonprofit featured is the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southeastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.

Read about this and other news by visiting our website.

Merchants Bank Business Bankers Complete Training that Promotes Greater Flexibility in Making Loan Decisions

HarrisonCindyWINONA, Minn. – Business bankers throughout the entire Merchants Bank organization completed online training and an intensive three-day workshop designed as a comprehensive analysis process on extending credit to small business borrowers.

“Omega training allows our bankers to better understand the credit needs of small business borrowers and better serve them,” said Senior Vice President and Credit Administration Manager Cindy Harrison.

The Omega Training program teaches bankers to better consider the business and related personal factors that impact creditworthiness and the ability to repay.

“Specifically as it relates to small business, the training helps us to consider other factors than just the balance sheet when it comes to making a loan,” Harrison said. “This makes the loan experience more personal for the customer and the banker, and that’s what community banking is all about.”

Merchants stock is closely held, but is available to the public when shares become available. There are approximately 400 shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Merchants also has an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP).

Read about this and other news at Merchants by visiting our website.

All that Glitters is Not Gold

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There are some businesses that operate on the edge of the truth. You know them. You see them throughout the media, populating the web and video. While what they are saying may have some truth to it, it may not be the whole truth.

These companies will give something of value for your investment (though not nearly to the level of your investment). Because of that, many of these companies are legal and operate legitimately, albeit at the edge of legitimacy.

What we are asking you to do is to be skeptical of the claims these companies make. Use your common sense. The old adage remains true: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For instance, there’s a company that sells “historical bonds,” claiming they have exceptional value. They do have value as collector’s items, but nothing more. The bonds were paid off in the 1800s after a bankruptcy. Another company claims that being a member can help you stop a mortgage foreclosure and your loan can be paid in full. You do receive some value for your “membership,” but the company often falls short of its claims.

There are several resources that can help you stay on guard against potential scams, such as the U.S. Treasury Fraud Alerts page, or our Merchants Bank security page, or our Alerts page. Protect yourself and your family by taking the time to understand what is being offered and your true costs.

Read or subscribe to our monthly eNewsletter.

July is Fun in the Sun Time

July EventsThe fun activities keep coming this summer at Merchants Bank. Check out the Calendar of events to find out whats happening near you! Visit our Facebook page to see whats coming or what you might have missed. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Calendar of Events
May 20-November 11 – Troll Patrol in Spring Grove, look for clues on Facebook or in the Spring Grove bank.
July 4 – Happy Independence Day.
July 4 – Eitzen Parade, noon, in Eitzen, MN  
July 5 – Onalaska Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event takes place at Riverside Park in Onalaska. Registration begins at 9 a.m.
July 7 – Cannon Falls Bears vs. Red Wing Aces starting at 2 p.m. The game will be played at John Burch Park in Cannon Falls. Come and cheer your team on.
July 10-14 – Winona County Fair in St. Charles. Merchants Bank in St. Charles sponsors the Winona County Dairy Cattle Showcase, Lions Food Stand, Entertainment Tent, 4-H Auction, and operates golf cart parking lot shuttle service.
July 13Lakeville Pan-O-Prog Parade, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
July 19 – Cottage Grove Community Appreciation takes place form 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove.
July 20-21 – Cannon Falls Art and Wine Festival, wine tasting takes place from noon – 4 p.m. both days. Art Show hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. Merchants Bank is the title sponsor of the event at Hannah’s Bend Park.
July 24 – Rosemont Community Appreciation, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Dont miss out on the fun time at Merchants Bank in Rosemount.
July 26 – Hampton Community Appreciation, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m., Merchants Bank in Hampton.
July 27Rosemount Leprechaun Days Parade, 11 a.m.