Meet Emily Buxengard, Credit Card Assistant at Merchants

Emily with her family (from l-r): Celia, Bailey, Marcus and Allen.

Emily with her family (from l-r): Celia, Bailey, Marcus and Allen.

How long have you been with Merchants?

Emily: I was hired on October 31, 2003 as a Teller. In the beginning, I worked at our Lakeside branch in Winona for about a year and then moved to the Downtown location. Eventually, I began helping the Credit Card Department two days a week and started full time in Credit Cards in 2006.

What is your top banking tip?

Emily: Explore mycardstatement.com and the Score Card Rewards website. Both are great online tools for our credit card customers and usually provide answers to common questions you may have about your credit card account, ScoreCard points and more.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?

Emily: My mom only gave me one piece of advice when it came to credit cards. She told me that if you won’t have the money to pay the credit card bill when you get it, you can’t have it. It’s something I still follow today. I’ll go into a store and want to buy something, but I know that I can’t have it because I can’t be sure I can payoff the bill when I get it. I think it’s a good piece of advice to follow, especially when you are new to having a credit card.

If you won the Powerball (currently estimated at $194 million) what’s the first thing you would buy?

Emily: I would pay off my mortgage and set up my children for life. Then, I would donate to my top five charities. I would also love to pay it forward anonymously…do things like pay for another family’s meal in restaurants without telling them or pay for coffee of the person behind me in the drive through. I want to pay it forward and I want to teach my kids how to do that.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Emily: Avocados. Without a doubt. I put avocados on everything: chili, quesadillas, pizza…we put them in our smoothies and use it instead of mayo in egg salad. They are an amazing.

Click here to learn more about Credit Cards at Merchants Bank. Credit cards are subject to credit approval.

Chad Anderson Has Joined Merchants Bank as Vice President and Business Banker

Chad Anderson, Business BankerChad Anderson has joined the team at Merchants Bank as Vice President and Business Banker, according to Randy Domeyer, Senior Vice President and Business Banking Department Manager.

“We are excited Chad has decided to join our team,” Domeyer said. “He’s an experienced and knowledgeable banker who is well known and has strong relationships in our market. We are sure he will enhance what we have to offer business customers throughout the area.”

Before joining Merchants Bank, Anderson had been employed at Winona National Bank the past 12 years as a business banker. He has experience in all areas of business lending, including commercial, residential, real estate, equipment loans and SBA (Small Business Administration) lending.

“This is a good opportunity for me to build and enhance relationships in the area business community as a member of the Merchants Bank team,” Anderson said. “I look forward to contributing to the growth of the bank and representing Merchants in the community.”

Anderson is a native of the area and is active in community organizations, including currently serving on the boards of the Winona ORC and the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce.

Contact Chad for your business banking needs today: 507-457-1196 or cjanderson@merchantsbank.com.

Five Ways to Make Payments for Your Business Easy with Tools for Disbursement

SmallBusinessOwnerOpenSignWould you like to better manage your businesses money and make it work harder. With three areas of focus – Tools for Collection, Tools for Disbursement and Tools for Management – Merchants Bank’s Cash Management area – what some banks call Treasury Management – is worth exploring.

Learn more about Tools for Disbursement:

Direct Deposit – Save time and add convenience by electronically depositing employees’ net payroll into their bank account. Subject to credit approval.

Bill Payment – Using Merchants Online Banking, pay vendors without having to write checks, saving time, postage and resources.

Sweep Accounts – Conveniently do the cash management that you want to do without having to manually request transfers between accounts. Sweeps can also be used to transfer money to or from a Line of Credit to reduce interest expense.

Target Balance Accounts – Better control your cash flow and service charge expense by designating a balance at which you would like a specific account balance to be maintained.

Wire Transfers– Wire transfers allow you to send or receive money from almost anywhere in the world. Funds are collected and available immediately upon receipt.

For more information on Cash Management services, visit our website.

Watch Out for These Red Flags to Stay Safe While Shopping Online

IMN-OnlineShopping

It is hard to overstate the popularity of online shopping. There is almost no category of product that can’t be purchased online. From wedding dresses, to pets and potato chips, consumers are heading online to purchase things that only a few years ago would have been considered strange to buy online. With so many online stores to choose from, it can be hard to tell which are legitimate and which could leave you vulnerable to scam or identity theft.

One of the easiest ways to tell if a website is secure is by looking for a Trust Seal.

“Typically, these seals are associated with secure sockets layer, or SSL for short,” states John Rampton, a Forbes contributor. “This simply means that your site has been verified and that there is a secure transmission for customers to safely enter their credit card information.”

When you are shopping online, you may have run into one of the seals and not even realized it. If you searched for a store through Google, for example, you probably have seen the small logo with a checkmark that states “Google Trusted Stores,” which is the search engine’s own Trust Seal. There are also several other companies that examine stores and give out trust seals.

“While trust seals are an important feature for [an] e-commerce website, which seals are the most reliable?” asks Rampton.  “In a survey conducted by the research group the Baymard Institute, the most trusted badge was Norton, with 36 percent of the votes. This was followed by McAfee (23 percent), TRUSTe (13.2 percent) and BBB Accredited (13.2 percent).”

The other ways that you can determine an online store’s trustworthiness are much less clear-cut than Trust Seals. Online reviews, for example, are one of the most important ways that consumers make decisions about a business’s reputation. If an online store has many positive reviews, you will likely feel safer giving it your credit card information. It is entirely possible for a good online store to not have many reviews, however, and positive reviews can be faked, so it is not a foolproof method.

It is also important to not ignore your gut feeling when shopping online. If you find a product for significantly less than every other store selling it, then that is a definite red flag. Another tactic to keep an eye out for is if a store claims to have the product you are looking for during an initial search, but then tries to redirect you to other similar products because they do not actually have what you need.

Furthermore, if a website doesn’t seem professionally designed, is extremely outdated, or very difficult to navigate, you may want to find another.

“Would you seriously give your credit card information to [a] website that looks like it belongs in 1995?” asks Rampton. “Common sense would say absolutely not.”

You should also look for contact information that would allow you to speak with an employee if you have questions or problems with your order. If there is no way to contact customer service, that is a big red flag.

Once you decide to make a purchase, there are further things to keep in mind.

“Don’t send your credit card details via email, post them on social media (even in a private message), or enter them on an unsecured website,” states Lexy Savvides from Cnet.com. “Don’t give away more information than you need. Retailers generally don’t need to know details like your date of birth or social security number, so why disclose it if you don’t have to?”

If you keep this information in mind and always choose the path of caution, you should be able to shop online without incident.

Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Merchants Bank’s 2014 Routing Number Change Could Affect You in 2015

eNews-RoutingNumber
In 2014, some of the routing numbers at Merchants Bank changed to ensure consistency between branches in case you use more than one location. You may need to take action to ensure that the correct routing number (also known as an ABA number) will be used for any annual online transactions associated with your bank account.If you use your bank account for any of the following online, please update the routing number for Merchants Bank to 091900193:
  • Filing or paying tax returns
  • Requesting tax refunds
  • Annual subscriptions or memberships

If you have questions regarding the routing number change, please contact a Customer Service Representative at your local Merchants Bank.

 

Easy Artichoke Spinach Dip

 

BlogRecipe-ArtichokeSpinachDipIngredients

  • 1 can artichoke hearts, whole or quartered (not packed in oil), cut in small pieces, reserve juice
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • garlic to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • imitation crab meat, optional

 

Directions

Saute spinach, oil and vinegar in pan over low heat. This should only take a few minutes – do not overcook! In mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and artichoke pieces; add approximately 2 tablespoons of juice from can of artichokes. Add remaining ingredients. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Serve with baguette bread, crackers, bagels or breadsticks. You can also add imitation crab meat. This dip can be served cold or warm.

Cook’s note: To serve warm: Top with more cheese and bake in pan at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Add parsley to garnish.

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

Collect Payments for Your Business with our Tools for Collection

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.comWould you like to better manage your businesses money and make it work harder. With three areas of focus – Tools for Collection, Tools for Disbursement and Tools for Management – Merchants Bank’s Cash Management area – what some banks call Treasury Management – is worth exploring.

Learn more about Tools for Collection:

Credit Card Processing – Make it easier for your customers to shop with more payment options when you accept Visa, MasterCard or Discover debit, credit and gift cards in person, through your website or via mobile. Subject to credit approval.

Direct Debit – Use Direct Debit to collect funds from your customers. A customer payments is automatically withdrawn from the customer account at the beginning of the bank business on the day authorized and then deposited into your account. Subject to credit approval.

Cash Concentration – Using Merchants Bank Online Banking, you can bring cash from multiple accounts and other banks together into a central account so you can better manage it and put it to work for you. Subject to credit approval.

Deposit-On-Demand – Reduce your time running to the bank by converting paper checks into an image and transmitting the images to the Bank for deposit from the comfort of your office.

For more information on Cash Management services, visit our website.