Welch, Birkholz Named “10 Days of Giving” Co-Chairs in Winona

Trust Merchants Bank

Nate Birkholz

Jen Welch

Jen Welch

Jennifer Welch and Nate Birkholz have been named co-chairs for the 2015 “10 Days of Giving,” which runs December 1-10. They will lead Merchants Bank employees in their efforts to collect food to benefit the food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services.

“Each year we are amazed at the generosity of people in Winona County,” said Welch, who is serving her second year as co-chair. “They truly recognize others are less fortunate and do what they can to help.”

Last year, the “10 Days of Giving” collected 231,155 of food, putting the 26-year total at 2,608,182 pounds. Two pounds of food are calculated for each dollar brought in, with the percentage of monetary donations increasing each year.

“It’s been my experience that people in Winona County both recognize the need and then do all they can to meet that need,” said Birkholz, who is serving his first year as co-chair. He has been with the Merchants organization for two years and heads the Merchants Bank Trust Department. “It’s gratifying to see that sincere response and the response of my co-workers. I believe nearly every employee at Merchants Bank in Winona contributes in some way to the food drive.”

In 2014 Winona Volunteer Services had 906 households using the food shelf each month, with another 88 households per month using the emergency food shelf. In total, an average of just over 36,700 pounds of food was distributed each month.

As in the past, Merchants will be collecting at its locations as well as schools and participating businesses around the area. For questions, please call Welch at 457-1108 or Birkholz at 457-1156. The “10 Days of Giving” will officially kick off with a press conference at 10 a.m., December 1 at Merchants Bank in downtown Winona. Monetary donations can be made out to “10 Days of Giving.” Monetary donations can be mailed to, or dropped off at Merchants Bank, 102 E. 3rd Street, Winona, MN 55987, attn: Chad Anderson. If you would like to make a donation online, you can go directly to the Winona Volunteer Services website. Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Increases Dividend by Three Cents Per Share Based on its Performance Through the First Three Quarters of 2015

Rod Nelson, President/CEO

Rod Nelson, President/CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) reported net income of $10,168,380 for the first three quarters of 2015, more than $400,000 ahead of last year’s pace of $9,749,529, according to MFGI President & CEO Rod Nelson.

Based on the performance, the MFGI Board of Directors voted to increase the shareholder semiannual dividend by three cents to 53 cents per share, Nelson said. The dividend will be paid to shareholders of record as of November 20, 2015.

“The reason for the strong performance is consistent with the factors that have driven our organization over the past several years: exceptional commercial loan growth compared to our peers, mortgage volume that has exceeded our plan and sound credit quality,” Nelson said.

Nelson said the Merchants organization is performing well at all of its 21 bank locations, and he expects the positive trend to continue.

Jim Peterson Joins Merchants Bank as a Commercial and Ag Banker

Commercial Banker

Jim Peterson, Commercial and Ag Banker

Jim Peterson has joined Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls as Vice President and Commercial and Ag Banker, according to Brian Hokanson, Senior Vice President and Senior Lender for Merchants Bank.

“We believe Jim’s skills, especially in the area of ag lending, are a tremendous fit for our focus as a bank, but, more so, the right fit for our current and future customers,” Hokanson said.

Peterson has 16 years of commercial lending experience, working both in North Dakota and Minnesota. In addition to serving the needs in the Cannon Falls area, Peterson will also work with Ag customers in the Rochester area.

“The areas of focus that are important to me are also important to Merchants Bank,” Peterson said. “It has a great reputation for taking care of the immediate and long-term needs of its customers. I’m happy to be part of the team.”

Peterson is a native of North Dakota and graduate of North Dakota State University, with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He has a long history of community involvement and a love for the outdoors, including time serving on the Advisory Board for the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department. Jim and his wife, Tina, are looking forward to being active members of the Cannon Falls community.

Loans are subject to credit approval.

Congratulate New Staff

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.

BuschScottScott Busch has joined Merchants Capital as a Territory Manager. Scott has 19 years of experience in the commercial equipment finance industry with SLS Financial Services, Trans Lease Inc., and Key Equipment Finance. Scott is married with a 16 year old son and 13 year old daughter. He enjoys watching his kids play sports, as well as attending other sporting events.




Kelly Donohoe has been promoted to Lead Teller in Lakeville in addition to her role in Customer Service. As Lead Teller, Kelly will be responsible for overseeing the Lakeville Teller team. She joined the Merchants organization in 2012 as a Part Time Teller in Apple Valley.



PetersonJimJim Peterson has joined Merchants Bank as a Commercial/Ag Banker in Cannon Falls. Jim has 16 years of commercial lending experience, working both in North Dakota and Minnesota. In addition to serving the needs in the Cannon Falls area, Peterson will also work with Ag customers in the Rochester area. Jim and his wife, Tina, are looking forward to being are looking forward to being active members of the Cannon Falls community.


Should My Business Pay Employees Through Direct Deposit?

Merchants Bank, direct deposit

In 2014, 77% of business payment fraud occurred in the form of paper checks.* Did you know that you can help prevent fraud and provide a benefit to your employees by implementing one simple solution? The answer is direct deposit.

What is direct deposit? Direct deposit of payroll is the electronic transfer and deposit of employees’ net pay to their bank accounts anywhere in the U.S. through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. You, or your payroll processor, provide the Bank with your employees’ net pay information. Then we process your payroll file and deposit your employees’ paychecks into their bank account(s).

Many of our customers find it easier and quicker to generate ACH files using Merchants Online Banking. Your employees’ net pay is deposited automatically into their account(s) at the opening of bank business on pay day and is immediately available as cash. Your account is debited for the total net pay amount. It’s that easy.

Can direct deposit save my business time and money? Simply put, yes. Here’s how:

  • Spend less time on payroll by no longer needing to write/print, sign, fold and deliver checks
  • Stop re-issuing lost or stolen checks, which could also be a source for identity theft
  • Stop spending money on stop payment fees for lost or stolen checks
  • Stop spending money to print checks

According to Paychex, direct deposit can save a business anywhere from $2.87 to $3.15 per check.** Depending on the size of your business, this could amount to thousands of dollars each year.

How can direct deposit benefit my employees? While providing direct deposit is a benefit to your business, it is also a service many employees have come to expect. Employees appreciate the convenience that comes with direct deposit, including:

  • Immediate access to funds on payday without having to run to the bank to cash a check
  • Ability to direct funds into the account(s) of their preference by dollar amount or percentage
  • Protection from fraud by eliminating the possibility of a stolen or lost check with their personal information

To get started with direct deposit for your business, contact your local Merchants Bank.

Are you unsure about how to set up a payroll system for your business? Read this article from the SBA and then talk to one of our local Cash Management experts.




What Should You Know About Merchants Bank EMV Chip Credit Cards?

Merchants Bank, credit card

What is an EMV chip card?

The term “EMV” stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa – the original developers of chip cards. These cards increase the security of in-person transactions by generating a one-time use code that can only be read by a register enabled to read chip cards. The code is created from the small chip on the front of your card and is hard to counterfeit, which prevents fraud.

How do I know if I have a chip card?

If you have a chip card, you will notice a small chip icon on the front of the card. At this time, Merchants Bank Visa Credit Cards offer EMV chip technology and have the chip icon. If you are a current Merchants Bank Visa Credit Card cardholder, your EMV chip card will be sent to you upon expiration of your current card. New cardholders will be issued a chip card upon credit approval.

Is paying with a chip card different from paying with my other cards?

Yes, making a payment with a chip card is slightly different than the card transactions you are used to. Instead of swiping your card at the register, you’ll simply follow these instructions:


Step 1: Insert the chip end of your card into the terminal with the chip facing up.

Step 2: Keep the card in the terminal during the transaction and follow the prompts on the screen.

Step 2: Keep the card in the terminal during the transaction and follow the prompts on the screen.

Step 3: Take your card when prompted. It’s that easy!

Step 3: Take your card when prompted. It’s that easy!












Do all stores accept EMV chip cards?

Not yet, but the trend is growing and if a store does not yet accept chip cards, you can still swipe your card to pay.

What happens if I swipe my EMV chip card instead of inserting it into the register?

The terminal will display a message asking you to insert your card instead.

To learn more about EMV chip technology, contact the Customer Service Representative at your local Merchants Bank.

If you are a business and would like to accept cards, or have a terminal that does not currently accept EMV chip cards, contact our Credit Card department.

Credit cards are subject to credit approval.


November Events

Merchants Bank, Community Events

Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page for information on these events or pictures from other events you may have missed.

11/17 Apple Valley Open House and Ribbon Cutting
9 a.m. – 3 p.m. with Ribbon Cutting at 10:30 a.m.
At Merchants Bank in Apple Valley

Help us celebrate the opening of our new Apple Valley location on Glazier Avenue. Light refreshments will be served.