Merchants Bank in La Crescent’s Food Explosion Means Contributions to La Crescent Food Share Program

With more than $1,000 in contributions, Merchants Bank in La Crescent purchased food for the La Crescent Food Share Program, and also provided the program a check for $466 during this year’s Food Explosion.

Merchants Bank in La Crescent received $511 dollars in cash donations from the public during this year’s AppleFest Parade, and also raised more than $500 from staff and Bank donations.

We appreciate all the contributions from the public and staff,” said Dawn Farrell, who along with Gary Beardmore, coordinates the Food Explosion for Merchants Bank. “We are especially grateful to Quillin’s for allowing us to purchase food at cost to donate to the food share program.”

“Our staff enjoys taking part in the parade and contributing to our community by helping those who have a need,” Farrell said.

Merchants Bank - La Crescent's float in the 2013 King Apple Parade on Sunday, September 22.

Merchants Bank – La Crescent’s float in the 2013 King Apple Parade on Sunday, September 22.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse Area Receives $470 in Merchants Bank’s 10 for 10 Celebration

10 for 10 Boys & Girls ClubThe Boys and Girls Club of the Greater La Crosse Area was the August recipient of Merchants Bank in Onalaska’s 10 for 10 program, receiving $470 for contributions made in August.

The mission of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse is to inspire and empower all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

“It is a great organization, and we are proud to help,” said Steve Christiansen, President of Merchants Bank in Onalaska.

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 August and matched another $85 dropped off at the Bank for the benefit of the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater La Crosse Area.

The September nonprofit featured is the Great Rivers United Way.

Lance Rud Joins Merchants Bank as a Mortgage Lender in Cottage Grove

Lance Rud

Lance Rud

Lance Rud has joined Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove as a mortgage lender, according to Jeff Carter, Vice President at Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove.

“We’re excited to have Lance join our team in Cottage Grove,” Carter said. “His combination of energy and knowledge will benefit customers looking to buy, build or refinance a home.”

Rud has worked with ING, TCF and most recently MidCountry Bank as a business lender and a mortgage lender.

“Merchants Bank is the perfect place to put my experience to work in helping people realize their housing dreams,” Rud said. “I look forward to working in Cottage Grove.

Jay Wangen Joins Merchants Bank in Winona as a Business Banker

Jay Wangen

Jay Wangen

WINONA, Minn. – Jay Wangen has moved from Merchant Bank in Rochester to join the Business Banking team in Winona, according Senior Vice President/Senior Lender and Manager of Business Banking David Grewe.

“Jay has done great work for our customers in the Rochester area. He knows what makes a successful business and a successful business relationship,” Grewe said. “He’s very generous with his knowledge and time.”

Wangen has been in banking since 1998 and has been part of the Merchants Bank team since 2005. He and his family live in St. Charles.

“I look forward to working with business owners in the Winona area to help meet their financing needs,” Wangen said. “I look forward to building long-term relationships through helping those business owners meet their business goals.”

Jay sits on the area 504 Corporation Board of Directors (the Small Business Administration development company) and is very active in his church.

Merchants Bank Acquires New Locations

MahoneyDickMerchants Bank has reached an agreement to purchase the current Associated Bank branch locations in Rushford and Lanesboro, Minnesota.

The sale includes about $47 million in deposit and loan relationships, as well as the physical locations of the banks in Rushford and Lanesboro.

“Acquiring these locations aligns with our long-term vision to provide our banking services to customers across our region,” said Merchants Financial Group, Inc. President and CEO Richard L. Mahoney. “We recognize Rushford and Lanesboro as important communities in terms of our area’s economic development, and we look forward to serving all the financial needs of these important customers.”

Merchants Bank is also acquiring a small pool of agricultural loans and related deposits from the Associated branch in Red Wing. One of the focuses of the Merchants organization is Ag lending. Associated will continue to operate its Red Wing location. Affected customers will be notified individually at a later date.

The sale is pending regulatory approval. Barring complications, Mahoney said he expects the sale to be completed by late November.

Employers, if the answer is “Yes”

The high cost of insurance may be a challenge for many employers. But there may be an answer to these questions:HSAEN

  • Are you combating higher health insurance premiums? Yes
  • Are you considering or are you offering your employees a high deductible health plan (HDHP)? Yes
  • Are you looking for peace of mind about your health care expenses? Yes
  • Do you want it to be as easy as possible? Yes

Then, you’ll want a Health Savings Account (HSA) from Merchants Bank.

The Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) is one business that is offering HSAs, and the results have been good, according to Jolie Severson, Payroll and Benefits Administrator at WAPS. More than 411 of the more than 600 employees at WAPS have HSA accounts.

“I would rate our experience as 10 out of 10,” Severson said. “The staff at Merchants is helpful with setting up our employees’ accounts online, allowing personal funds to be directly deposited. All questions and special circumstances are answered with efficiency and satisfaction.”

Severson said there are a number of other benefits for employees.

“It’s not a use it or lose it account, so all the funds in the account stays with the employee for years to come. There are employees who are building up this account for retirement with tax-free dollars,” Severson said. “Employees have become better health care consumers as they manage their medical needs.”

Plus, the account is portable if the employee were to leave and can be transferred to a spouse upon death.

If you want to learn more, talk with your insurance agent and then talk to us at Merchants Bank. We’d be happy to come on-site to help educate your employees.

Good for the Community…

When Pete Woodworth’s grandfather’s plane landed in Winona on a Sunday in 1943 at the then municipal airport, Walker Woodworth was met by three people, including Winona’s mayor, and the President of Merchants National Bank, J.R. Chappel.

By the time Woodworth left Winona the next day, Winona had a new business, the Winona Knitting Mills, and Merchants Bank had started a long-term relationship with the Woodworth family.

The relationship has grown. Walker’s son and Pete’s father, Les, was on the Merchants Bank Board of Directors for more than 20 years, and Pete has been a member of the Merchants Bank Board of Directors and the Merchants Financial Group Board of Directors since 1988.

By the Fall of 1943, the Winona Knitting Mills was up and running, and it ran for 57 years in the same location at 902 E. 2nd Street, expanding along the way. The building went from three stories and 8,000 square feet to more than six buildings and 175,000 square feet. By 1995 the company had grown to be the third largest men’s sweater manufacturer in the United States.

By late 1995, the Winona Knitting Mills merged with Hampshire Group Limited, the largest woman’s sweater manufacturer in the USA, and by 2002, Pete and his wife Joyce, had sold their interests, but there still was the issue of what to do with the property. Pete and Joyce converted the property into a professional business campus.

“We took the chance and developed it into a community resource,” Pete said.

The campus, which includes the main building that Walker first purchased, a warehouse, and four satellite buildings on eight acres, now has more than 40 tenants. The tenants are varied. The terms given the businesses are as varied as the types of businesses themselves, including graduated rates over time and phased in rental payments.

“We’re trying to make it easier for them to get up and running so the businesses are viable for the long-term,” Pete said. “It’s pragmatic. It’s good for them. It’s good for our family. It’s good for the community, and it’s good for Merchants Bank because many of these businesses are borrowing from the bank, and we’re borrowing from the bank.”

In 2004, Pete and Joyce gave WKM Properties to their children Nathan, Jacob and Lindsay. In 2009 Nathan took over running the business, which also includes a 7000 square foot building in downtown Winona, a 10,000 square foot building in Goodview and a 40,000 square foot building in Rochester.

“I’ve always liked tweaking and strengthening things, and this has been very satisfying,” Pete said. “We thought of it as planting something that would grow, something we could pass on to benefit Merchants Bank, the community and our family.”

WoodworthsForEN