Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Increases Shareholder Dividend by Five Cents Per Share; Success Continues Through First Three Quarters of 2014

Rod Nelson, President & CEO

Rod Nelson, President/CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) reported net income of $9,749,529 through the first three quarters of 2014. The figure is $281,644 ahead of last year’s net income and ahead of MFGI’s plan. Based on the performance, the MFGI Board of Directors voted to increase the shareholder semiannual dividend by five cents to 50 cents per share, according to MFGI President & CEO Rod Nelson.

“I am pleased that we can continue to reward our shareholders for their confidence and continue to bring value to those shareholders, our customers and our employees,” Nelson said. The dividend will be paid to shareholders of record as of November 21, 2014. “I do expect that we will finish the year on a positive note.”

Nelson said the main drivers for the continued success are the work of business bankers across all locations in securing new business, maintaining loan credit quality and the success of the mortgage area.

MFGI has a strong correspondent mortgage network that supports smaller banks across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota and Nebraska by helping those banks provide mortgages to their customers. That work, coupled with the efforts of the mortgage lenders at Merchants Bank locations, has continued to have a positive impact on the organization.

“The reason for our success is our people and their ability to create and enhance relationships with customers in all our markets. We continuously strive to add the very best people to our team and are focused on continued talent enrichment as we grow,” Nelson said.

Crock Pot Easy Corn

BlogRecipe-CrockPotCorn

Ingredients:
3 – 1 lb. bags frozen corn
4 Tbsp sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1 ½ sticks butter
2 to 3 Tbsp water

Directions:
Put all ingredients in crock pot. (I layer them, some corn, little sugar, 1/3 cream cheese, ½ stick butter, and repeat twice more.) Stir occasionally. Cook on low for 4 hours.
Cook’s note: This rich, creamy corn is a real crowd pleaser at Christmas, Thanksgiving and other family or friend gatherings. Easy and delicious!

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

Five Yoga Moves for Stress

eNews-Yoga

A big work presentation. When a loved one is sick. Deadlines. Bills. Whether big or small, everyone experiences stress as a normal part of everyday life. And while we can’t eliminate stress altogether, evading stress may be easier than you think.

One of the best ways to get a handle on it all: Hit the yoga mat. Yoga, a mind/body exercise that involves stretching and structured breathing, is a proven way to reduce stress and calm your nerves.

“Yoga helps us slow down for a moment and tune into the breath. Simply the focus on one thing — which is the very definition of meditation — allows us to decompress,” Dr. Terri Kennedy, registered yoga teacher and president of Power Living Enterprises, Inc. “The actual asanas [poses] release tension in different ways, and help certain parts of the body.”

While most yoga moves are good stress relievers, specific poses may help more than others. Practice these poses to tame tension and find your inner calm:

  1.  Corpse pose (Savasana)
    How to do it: There are many variations to those pose, but they all begin with laying down on your back with your feed slightly apart, arms at your side with palms facing up. As you inhale, extend your right leg, and then the left, and allow them to drop to the side. Tense your whole body. Then allow your body to sink into the floor. With arms outward, let them rest on the floor. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, allowing your body to relax for five to10 minutes.

    Why it works:
    This pose relaxes your body and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate. That means lowered blood pressure and decreased muscle tension, which are essential to ridding yourself of stress. It also helps clear your head.
  1. Mountain pose (Tadasana)
    How to do it: Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides, with weight evenly distributed to both feet. Press your big toes together and then lift and spread your toes out. Elevate your kneecaps by tightening your thighs. Slightly tuck your tailbone in. Straighten your arms with fingers extended and your palms facing in. As you inhale, lengthen your torso. Keep your neck elongated and eyes forward. Hold for one to two minutes.

    Why it works: This pose works to help you clear your mind and overcome you with a sense of calmness. Smooth breathing and regaining balance are also great stress busters.

  2. Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
    How to do it: Place your palms on the ground and step back one leg at a time, keeping your hands and feet in line with each other. Stretch your arms forward and keep them straight. Lift your backside in the air and straighten your legs, while pressing your hands and heels into the ground. Your head and neck should naturally relax.

    Why it works: Your spine is elongated during this position, which can help you feel and overwhelming sense of relaxation overcome your body. Downward dog is especially helpful if you’re experiencing a tension headache due to stress.

  3. Cat pose (Marjaryasana)
    How to do it: Begin with your hands and knees on the floor, creating a “table top” position with your back. Straighten your arms and center your head, with your eyes looking at the floor. Inhale, then exhale and round your spine to create an arc. Let your head drop (but avoid bringing your chin towards your chest). Inhale and revert to the tabletop position. Repeat up to 12 times.

    Why it works:
    The feeling of your spinal cord stretching may mimic the feel of a massage, which can ease stress. Cat pose also benefits your stomach organs and muscles.
  4. Child’s pose (Balasana)
    How to do it: Begin on your hands and knees, with your knees about hip width apart and feet together. Stretch your arms forward and lengthen your tailbone away from your back. Extend your torso and lengthen the back of your neck as you place your forehead to the floor. Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing out. Breathe slowly and deeply.

    Why it works:
    This pose works as meditation to tender feelings of calm by soothing the central nervous system. As your spine, shoulders and neck relaxes, so does your mind.

As stressful as life can be, there are ways to help calm you down and relax. Make sure to say Namaste to your stress levels after doing some yoga.

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

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

BlogRecipe-PumpkinCheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 3 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • whipped cream

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about 2/3 of the way up the sides of a spring form pan. You don’t want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set it aside until you are ready to fill it.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

Pour the filling into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Top will turn a bit darker at this point. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.

When cheesecake has become room temperature, put it into the refrigerator. When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Use dental floss to make a clean cut. Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream on top. Serves 8.

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

Pumpkin Dip Recipe

BlogRecipe-PumpkinDip

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Directions:

Mix cream cheese and sugar together and beat until smooth. Add pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger. Beat until well combined. Serve with apple slices and ginger snaps.

Cooks note: Recipe can be cut in half by using a 3 oz. package cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 can pumpkin.

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

3 Financial Tips for Snowbirds

eNews-Snowbird

Coordinating your winter travel plans can be chaotic. In the midst of preparing for your trip, keep in mind these three tips to ensure smooth sailing while you’re somewhere warm.

1. Communicate your change of address.

There are several businesses that should be aware of your change of address for the winter season, including Merchants Bank. To ensure you continue to receive important financial, medical or family information or to discontinue specific subscription services, you should contact the following regarding your address change:

  • Your bank
  • The Post Office
  • Your local newspaper (if you have it delivered)
  • Other delivery services

To alert Merchants Bank of your address change, stop in or call your local branch (link to contact us page) to let us know of the change. Please include dates of departure and return as well as the names of other account holders living at your address.

2. Know how to access your bank account information.

Managing your money across a few states or a country is critical to helping you feel at ease during your trip. Make sure you are comfortable with getting information about your accounts and managing your money through one of the following free options:

Or, if you prefer assistance enrolling in any of the listed services, simply contact our Electronic Banking department at 866-496-0522.

3. Be diligent in protecting your identity.

In the course of your travels, there are a number of circumstances that could impact the chance of identity theft. You could lose track of a card, leave financial statements in the mailbox, or post publically on a social media site that you’re out of town, which lets criminals know that your house is empty. Review our security tips to ensure that your personal information is safe.

Click here to view our Snowbird Kit.

Stop By and Meet Our New Staff Here to Help You

eNews-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.

Kelly Carter has joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Lakeville. Kelly lives with her husband, Jeff and their three beautiful daughters in Hastings. For the past seven years, Kelly has ran a day-care out of their home, which has allowed her to be home to raise their daughters.

Sam Ebner has joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Winona. Sam previously worked at Target. He recently completed his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Metropolitan State University. He is originally from Apple Valley and recently moved here with his fiancé, Jackie.

Paulette Reinhardt has joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Cottage Grove. Paulette previously worked at the Hastings Co-op as a Cashier and is currently attending Dakota County Technical College working towards her Supervisory Management degree. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, Malissa, reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.