Meet Chris Smith, Consumer Banker at Merchants Bank

Chris Smith and her family

Chris (seated on left) and Her Family

How long have you been with Merchants?
Chris: In November, I’ll have my 25 year anniversary with Merchants. I actually started as a Receptionist in our Downtown Winona location. From there, I helped in Safe Deposit and Bond area and then I went into Deposit Account Services, where I worked for about 10 years. Eventually, I transferred to the Personal Banking area as a Consumer Lender and came to our Onalaska branch when we opened here in 2004.

What is your top banking tip?
Chris: There are so many fraudsters out there. When it comes to your bank accounts, it’s important to do research and understand how the financial institution protects you and your information. For example, what I like about our credit card is the fact that you can call our employees directly if you have questions about your account. The people you talk to about your credit card are local. You’re not calling across the country.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?
Chris: A penny saved is a penny earned.

If you won the Powerball what’s the first thing you would do?
Chris: I would buy a house in a southern state with a warm climate so I could enjoy the summer weather up here and the warm winters down south. I think winters here are too long. Ha!

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?
Chris: The grass and trees. I love the outdoors, especially in the Spring and Summer weather.

The Potato Recipe

BlogRecipeEmployeeFav-PotatoRecipe

Chief Financial Officer Sue Savat shares one of her favorite recipes from the Merchants Family Cookbook. “I really like this recipe for three reasons – it is really easy to make, really delicious to eat and really easy to clean up!  All very important factors in my cooking!”

Ingredients:

  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs. potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In large plastic bag or bowl, add all ingredients. Shake or stir potatoes until completely coated. Empty potatoes into shallow baking or roasting pan. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes or until tender and golden brown.

 

Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

Dana Dobrunz Promoted to Personal Banker at Merchants Bank in La Crescent

Dana Dobrunz

Dana Dobrunz, Personal Banker

Dana Dobrunz has been promoted to a Personal Banker at Merchants Bank in La Crescent, according to Merchants Bank Southeast Region President Jay Friedl. Dobrunz will be responsible for serving customers’personal loan and deposit needs.

“This is well-deserved for Dana and fortunate for our customers because they will have a single person they can go to for their personal loan and deposit needs,”Friedl said. “Her understanding of banking and people is a winning combination for the Bank and our customers.”

Dobrunz has been with Merchants Bank in La Crescent since 1993, where she has been a long-time Customer Service Representative. She has a strong relationship with the Bank customers in La Crescent.

“I’m excited that I will be able to help customers with more of their banking needs instead of referring them to someone else,”Dobrunz said. “I think the continuity is something people will appreciate. It can make banking more personal for them.”

Senior Operations Officer Kerri Bronk Receives Promotion to Lead E-Channel Focus at Merchants Bank

Kerri Bronk

Kerri Bronk, Senior Operations/E-Channel Officer

Merchants Bank Vice President and Senior Operations Officer Kerri Bronk has added the management and leadership of E-Channel activities to her responsibilities, according to Merchants Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Sue Savat.

“As we have continued to develop our electronic delivery channels, we felt it was very important to have one person as the business leader for these channels as this is an area where our customers continue to expect more and more functionality and ease of use,” Savat said.

Bronk will now be Senior Operations/E-Channel Officer for the Merchants organization. Her new responsibilities will include Online and Mobile Banking, Debit Cards, Payment Systems and Consumer Mobile Deposit.  Additionally, she will work with the Marketing department on website solutions, and the Cash Management department on continued E-Solutions for business customers.

“Our customers deserve a seamless and responsive experience based on their individual needs when they bank with us,” Bronk said. “Electronic delivery channels will only continue to expand in importance.”

Bronk has been with Merchants since 1996, beginning her career as a Teller at the Goodview location. She was appointed Senior Operations Officer in 2009.

Meet Larry Accola, President – Merchants Bank Eau Claire

Merchants Bank Eau Claire

Larry Accola, President of Merchants Bank in Eau Claire

Hometown:
Larry: Pittsville, WI. It’s the exact geographical center of state.

Education:
Larry: I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Originally, I majored in Engineering, but decided that it wasn’t something I wanted to do for a career, so I switched to Business.

I had never considered banking, but one of my professors mentioned there was an opening at Midland Bank in Milwaukee. At the time I worked for Mobil Oil Corporation in Milwaukee. I went to Midland and talked to their HR representative and she encouraged me to consider banking so I could be involved with many different types of businesses. From there, I solicited interviews with several banks in the area and started at what is now, US Bank.

I have never regretted choosing banking. I also completed the Graduate School of Banking three year program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Family:
Larry: I have four children – two boys and two girls – and they’re all grown up. Three of them live near Seattle and the other lives in Austin, TX.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
Larry: One of my customers asked me recently if I ever considered retiring. I honestly haven’t because I really enjoy what I’m doing. I enjoy people and I enjoy commercial lending. I really like being involved with businesses and being a part of their success. I’ve learned a lot from different businesses over the years and I like applying that experience to the businesses I’m working with now to offer helpful solutions and suggestions.

What’s the most important financial lesson you’ve learned in your life?
Larry: Money is of course important and necessary but regardless of compensation, one has to enjoy and bring value to what they do for a living.

What does community banking mean to you?
Larry: Being part of a team. I think banking relationships should be transparent and not adversarial. Ultimately, what’s good for the bank is generally good for the customer and working together with their other professional advisors to make the customer successful is what it’s all about.

I like that we bring value to our customer relationships and create partnerships rather than just concentrating on the services we offer. Making customers successful also brings benefits to their employees and their communities.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Larry: I don’t know…I grew up on a dairy farm and I knew I probably didn’t want to do that. You have to be at the farm all the time and that’s a big commitment. It was a great place to grow up though. Honestly, I don’t know if I really said “this is what I want to be.”

What do you do when you’re not working?
Larry: Unfortunately, my grandkids do not live nearby, but I have some close friends that let me “stand in” as grandpa for their kids. I go to their sporting events to cheer them on, which is a lot of fun. I enjoy pretty much any spectator sport…football, basketball, soccer. I am a casual hunter and I am currently mentoring an 11 year old boy. I also like reading about the finance and banking industry. I just enjoy learning and every day realize how much there is to know.

Tell us something we don’t know.
Larry: What’s that phrase they say? “You can take the boy off of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy.” I have three antique tractors, which reminds me of my past. One of them is actually the same make and model as a tractor we had on the home farm. I also had the unique spectrum of experience of attending a one room country school for 8 grades and finishing my education at a 40,000 student urban university.

Learn more about Merchants Bank on our website.

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Mobile Deposit and Bill Pay Now Available

Consumer deposit, mobile bill payYou’ve been asking for it and now it’s here! Mobile deposit and bill pay for consumer customers is now available through the Merchants Bank Mobile App. What do you need to get started?

  1. Enroll in Mobile Banking through your Online Banking account. (Don’t have an Online Banking account? Sign up now.)
  2. Download the Merchants Bank Mobile Banking app on your phone.
  3. Sign in the Mobile Banking.
  4. Following the instructions below for Consumer Mobile Deposit and Bill Pay.

Consumer Mobile Deposits

Have a check you’d like to deposit? It’s easy!

  1. Select the Account.
  2. Choose an account from the Deposit To menu.
  3. Enter the Amount.
  4. Snap a Picture/Endorse Your Check
    Take a clear picture of the check front and then flip it over. Endorse the check “For Deposit Only to Merchants Bank” and then take a picture of the back of the check.
  1. Choose Make Deposit.
  2. Confirmation
    After you give your deposit one final look and deposit your check, we’ll provide you with confirmation of your deposit.

Mobile Deposit Transaction Guidelines

  • $1,000 limit per check.
  • Daily limits: $2,500 mobile deposit limit per day and/or up to 10 checks.
  • Monthly limits: $5,000 mobile deposit limit per month and/or 20 checks.
  • Limits are not independent of each other. For example, if you deposit 10 checks for $100 each in one day, you have reached your per day limit of 10 checks even though you have not reached your total daily mobile deposit limit of $2,500.

Mobile Bill Pay

Pay bills with the tap of a finger. It’s really that easy once your payees are set up in your Merchants Online Banking.

  1. Select Payee.
  2. Select who you want to pay. To set up a Payee, simply login to your Merchants Online Banking.
  3. Select the Account you want the payment to come from.
  4. Enter the payment Amount.
  5. Select the Date you want the payment sent.
  6. Click Schedule Payment.

Have questions about our Mobile Banking app or the Mobile Deposit and Bill Pay features? Contact our Electronic Banking Department at 1-866-496-0522.
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Congratulate New Staff and Promotions

At Merchants Bank, we are happy to welcome new employees and celebrate new positions filled by current staff. These frontline employees are all looking forward to serving you. Take a moment to congratulate them.

Cindy Adolph

Cindy Adolph

Cindy Adolph has been promoted to Risk Compliance and Audit Manager/VP and will take on new responsibilities to help Merchants analyze, report and manage risk. In her new role, Cindy will be responsible for the leadership, innovation, governance and management necessary to identify, evaluate, mitigate and monitor all of the company’s risk components. She joined the Merchants organization in 2007 with the acquisition of The First National Bank in Cannon Falls, where she had been working since 2002.

 

Kerri Bronk, Senior Operations and eChannel Officer/VP

Kerri Bronk

Kerri Bronk has been promoted to Senior Operations and eChannel Officer/VP and has added the management and leadership of E-Channel activities to her responsibilities. Her new responsibilities will include Online and Mobile Banking, Debit Cards, Payment Systems, and a number of new offerings, yet to be announced. Additionally, she will work with the Marketing department on website solutions, and the Cash Management department on continued E-Solutions for business customers. Kerri has been with Merchants since 1996, beginning her career as a Teller at the Goodview location. She was appointed Senior Operations Officer in 2009.

 

Yeleana St Mane

Yeleana St. Mane

Yelana St. Mane has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller at our Rochester Green Meadows location. For the past 15 years, Yeleana worked at Michaels Restaurant in Rochester. She also worked at Macy’s Department Store. Yeleana is originally from Russia and came to America 15 years ago. She graduated from the University of Novosibirsk, Russia with a Computer Engineer degree. She has two grown children and enjoys reading and ice skating.

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