Meet Marcus Krings, Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants Bank

Meet Marcus Krings, Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants, pictured playing with his band, The Whistle Jacks.

Meet Marcus Krings, Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants, pictured playing with his band, The Whistle Jacks.

When did you start your banking career?

In 2006, started working at Winona National as a Lead Teller and worked there for several years. In 2012, I came to

Merchants and have been in the Electronic Banking department since. I like working with computers and helping people, so this job combines two things I really enjoy.

What is your top electronic banking tip?

My first tip would be for people traveling outside of the tri-state area: Make sure that you know the pin number associated with your debit card. Merchants has fraud protection rules in place that require you to enter your pin when making purchases far from home. If you don’t know your pin, you can call Electronic Banking a 866-496-0522 and we can help you reset your pin in time for your trip.

For those interested in using our mobile app, it’s important to note you’ll need to sign up for Online Banking first. You can get started with Online Banking by contacting a Customer Service Representative at your local Merchants Bank, calling Electronic Banking or enrolling at merchantsbank.com. Then, when you search for the app in the app store, use “merchants bank na” because that search term will bring you directly to our app page.

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

You have to earn your money. My parents always emphasized that money was something you worked for, whether it was simply doing chores around the house or having a high school job.

If you could ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange with anyone, who would it be and why?

My wife. She really likes to travel and we’d have fun in New York together.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Sour apple green gummies. Those are delicious.

For more information on our electronic banking options, visit our website.

You’re Invited: Attend Our Holiday Open Houses in December

HolidayOpenHouses

Please join us to celebrate the holidays at the following Holiday Open Houses and events. We hope to see you there!

12/4-12/5 Onalaska Holiday Open House
9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Appetizers and refreshments will be served in our bank lobby. Prize drawings will be held for the following items: 1-$200, 1-$100 and 1-$50 Visa Gift Card and a children’s gift basket.*
12/5 Caledonia Holiday Open House
10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby.
12/5 Caledonia Winter Wonderland Parade
7 p.m.
Please join us on Main Street in Downtown Caledonia.
12/5 Eau Claire Holiday Open House
9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Please join us for homemade cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby.
12/5 Spring Grove Holiday Open House
9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby. Pictures with Santa will be held from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
12/9 Hastings Holiday Open House
11 a.m.- 2p.m.
Please join us for a light lunch and refreshments in our bank lobby. Please bring a gift of non-perishable food or cash to support the “10 Days of Giving” food drive.
12/12 La Crescent Holiday Parade
7 p.m.
Please join us in Downtown La Crescent.
12/12 Rushford Holiday Open House
10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in the bank lobby.
12/12 Lanesboro Holiday Open House
10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in the bank lobby.
12/13 Rushford Holiday Parade of Lights
7 p.m.
Join us for the Parade of Lights in Downtown Rushford.
12/15 and 12/22 Red Wing Holiday Open House
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Please join us for refreshments in our bank lobby.
December 15 at 4 p.m. – Red Wing High School Ovation Choir
December 22 – Live music throughout the day by Merchants employees John Anderson, Becky Clark and Shelly Schroeder.
12/15-12/19 Winona Holiday Open House
9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby. Live music will be performed throughout the day by area schools.
12/15-12/19 Rosemount Holiday Open House
9 a.m.–11 a.m.
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby.
12/18-12/19 La Crescent Holiday Open House
8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
Please join us for cookies, coffee and holiday spirit in our bank lobby.
12/19 Cannon Falls Holiday Open House
8:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
Please join us for cookies, refreshments and live music in our bank lobby.

There will be live music in the lobby throughout the day:
9:00 a.m. Cannon Falls High School 9th grade choir
10:00 a.m. Cannon Falls High School Concert and Jazz Choirs
11:00 a.m. St. Paul’s Lutheran School Choir
12:00 p.m. Randolph High School Chamber Choir
1:00 p.m. Cannon Falls High School Flute choir
3:00 p.m. Holiday music featuring Merchants employees John Anderson on guitar, Shelly Schroeder on flute, and Becky Clark on cello.

12/19 Hampton Holiday Open House
8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby. Piano music will be performed 1:00-4:00 p.m. by Elizabeth Schriever.
12/19 St. Charles holiday Open House
10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Please join us for refreshments in our bank lobby.

*Drawing will be held on December 5, 2014. No purchase or customer relationship necessary to enter or win. One entry per person. Winner will be notified by telephone. Employees of Merchants Bank and their immediate family are not eligible for the drawing.

Free Seminar: Year-End Tax Update

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Learn how to prepare for your year-end taxes by joining us for this FREE business session featuring speakers from JRM and Associates. Session will be held on Thursday, December 4 from 7:30 -9:30 a.m. at Stoney Creek Inn (3060 S Kinney Coulee Rd, Onalaska, Wisconsin).

Topics Covered:

  • Tax Credits and Other Services from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
  • New Tax Provisions related to the Affordable Care Act
  • Tax Law Changes and Updates
  • Tax Strategies to Implement Before Year-End

Session includes breakfast.

RSVPs are appreciated for planning purposes:
Becky Herrmann
blherrmann@merchantsbank.com or 608-779-8268

Tricia Barnes
tricia@jrmcpa.biz or 608-781-8712

What is Most Important to Homebuyers?

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If you’re looking to put your home up for sale, there are an array of things to do that can entice a potential buyer. For starters, you can clear the clutter, clean the carpets and try to paint over your kid’s fingerprints on the walls.

But besides making your home as picturesque as it can be, it’s important to understand what real estate buyers are really looking for in the current day and age. Like homes change, so do homebuyers, and now those of the Gen X and Gen Y population are taking the home-buying floor. It turns out they have some pretty high standards, which differ greatly from what previous generations sought in a home.

“It’s critical that real estate professionals understand what embodies a quintessential home for the Millennial generation, which vastly differs from the traditional norms of generations before them,” says Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC, which conducted a survey on the essentials of what current homebuyers are seeking. According to the results, a whopping 77 percent of next-generation homeowners would prefer a home that encompasses the technological capabilities they grew up with and have become accustomed to (smart phones, apps, etc.).

“These survey findings allow our brand to continue to best serve the next generation of homebuyers and find homes that can or do appeal to their lifestyles and unique spirit,” says Chris. “Understanding technologies to communicate with this generation is now only one piece of the puzzle for agents; ‘smart’ technological capabilities must now be ingrained into the home itself.”

The survey results proved that technology was a huge part of what next-generation homebuyers crave in their home. In fact, 56 percent said home technology capabilities topped “curb appeal” in terms of importance in a home. What’s more, if a home didn’t live up to their advanced technology standards, 64 percent said they’d rather not live there. One of the most important technology components that participants wanted was an energy-efficient washer and dryer (which 57 percent said they’d like this commodity in a home), followed by a security system (46 percent) and a smart thermostat (44 percent).

Additionally, 77 percent of those surveyed said they’d rather purchase an “essential” home instead of a large, luxurious abode. Forty-three percent even went so far as to say they’d rather the home be less “cookie cutter” style and more customized to their level of practicality. For example, 1 in 5 Millennials surveyed stated they would more appropriately name their dining room a home office, which is what they’d more commonly use the space for. Also, 43 percent would prefer to use their living room as a home theater.

Technology in the home doesn’t end there for this present home-buying crowd. Fifty-nine percent surveyed said they’d prefer more space in the kitchen for a TV (over a second stove), and if possible, they’d like to have a form of entertainment in each room in the house. While kitchen renovations are and have always been a main precedence , now Millennials say the most desirable part of the room are tech updates. And, 41 percent of participants said they’d likely brag to a friend about a home automation system over a newly redone kitchen.

The desire for a technologically-equipped home is not a shock among Millennials, but results that didn’t include anything about technology included that 82 percent of participants said they’d rather invest in a home that needed renovations if given the choice between that and relying on their parents’ money.

In addition, other commodities homebuyers wish for in their home include walk-in closets, home offices and hardwood flooring. With that said, if your current home does come equipped with one or all of these things on current buyers’ wish lists, it may be a good idea to emphasize them in your listing. Also, given how important technology is to current homebuyers, before you list your new home, you may benefit from transforming your home into a “smart home.”

Not sure where to start? Your financial institution is the best place to help with all your real estate needs.

Loans are subject to credit approval. Merchants Bank is an equal housing lender. Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Money Ball is Back

MoneyballAVApple Valley students will once again have the opportunity to earn money making lay-ups, free throws and half-court shots during Merchants Bank’s Money Ball halftime shootout at Apple Valley High School basketball games this season.

Last year students earned $1,680 and Merchants Bank matched the $1,680 with a donation to the Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club. Brian Wester, of Merchants Bank in Apple Valley, said the format will be the same as last year. The first Money Ball  game is November 25.

“It’s a great way to support the students and the booster club. Plus, it’s a lot of fun for the crowd,” Wester said.

Students sign up before each game and are chosen in a random drawing to be the Money Ball half-time shooters at select home games. The student receives a $10 gift card for a made lay-up, a $25 gift card for a made free throw, and $100 in cash for a made half-court Money Ball shot. Last year, three students made a half-court shot. If the half-court shot isn’t made, the jackpot continues to grow each game until the shot is made.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes

BlogRecipe-SweetPotatoes

Ingredients:
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1″ pieces
4 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut in 1″ pieces
2 chicken bouillon cubes
6 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
salt, to taste

Directions:
Place sweet potatoes, carrots & bouillon cubes in a large, heavy pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender. Drain, reserving 6 Tbsp of cooking liquid, and place in a bowl. Mash the vegetables with the reserved cooking liquid. Add remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or reheat, covered, in a 350° oven for 15-20 minutes.

 

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

Ann Vanderloo Named a 2014 Super Mortgage Professional by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business

Ann Vanderloo, Mortgage Loan Officer in Lakeville

Ann Vanderloo, Mortgage Loan Officer in Lakeville

Merchants Bank Mortgage Lender Ann Vanderloo has been named a 2014 Super Mortgage Professional by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business.

Vanderloo received the honor after being nominated by a customer or client. More than 20,000 recent home buyers and all Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business subscribers were asked to cast a ballot to identify Twin Cities’ super mortgage professionals. After the nomination, an independent research company, Crescendo Business Services, conducted the evaluation process.

Vanderloo joined Merchants Bank in Lakeville in 2009 and has more than 25 years in community banking as a mortgage professional. She is an expert in residential construction lending.

“I’m grateful for the honor and the ability and resources that Merchants Bank provides to help my customers to find the right solution for their particular needs,” Vanderloo said.

If you’d like to learn more about how Vanderloo can help you, you can contact her by phone at 952-841-4268, by cell at 612-889-4667, by email at amvanderloo@merchantsbank.com, or you can connect with her through the Merchants Bank website.