Well-known local Dairy Farmer John Diersen has been appointed to the Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove Advisory Board of Directors, according to Matt Schuldt, President for Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove.
“John is a valuable addition to the Board. He brings us a lot of knowledge about farming and the ag community, especially the dairy industry,” Schuldt said. “Plus, he’s about improving the community. He and his family give a lot back and are a big part of our area.”
Diersen is looking forward to giving his time and knowledge to the Board.
“I want to be able to contribute to the Board, not just be someone sitting in a chair,” Diersen said. “I’ll be able to provide input as far as farming, helping to pinpoint what to look for when it comes to the business of agriculture.”
Diersen, 62, farms with his wife, Karyl, and two sons, Joshua and Jayson, at Minnigan Hills Farm outside of Caledonia. The farm has been in the family since John’s grandfather. Currently, they farm 500 acres and milk between 135 and 150 Holsteins. Diersen is involved in the embryo business with three other local dairymen in Four Cal Genetics. The Diersens have also been involved in the American Dairy Association for many years and take a lead role in the Houston County Fair. John is a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church and has served on the board of directors at the church.
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.
Jen Bartok has joined Merchants Bank as a Lead Teller in Lakeville. Jen previously worked at TCF Bank as a Branch Supervisor/Banking Sales Rep and at US Bank as a Personal Banker. Jen is a graduate of St. Catherine University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management.
Mollie Brink has joined Merchants Bank as a Commercial Lending Assistant for the Winona-Downtown location. Mollie previously worked at Winona National Bank as a Lead Teller. She has a Human Resources and Management degree from Winona State University. Mollie is married to Ryan and they have an adorable four month old daughter Addyson and dog Casper. In her spare time, Mollie likes to go camping, reading and spending time with friends and family.
Judy Kromrey has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Winona. Judy previously worked at Winona National Bank as a Senior Teller. She and her husband, Stef have been married for 31 years and have two children, Melissa and Nate. They also have one grandchild, Marcus who manages to keep them very busy. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and going on walks.
Alicia Redman has joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Red Wing. Alicia has worked in the retail industry for the past 15 years and most recently at JCPenny as a Jewelry Sales Associate. She was also an assistant coach for the Red Wing High School track team for five years. Alicia received her Fine Arts degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Alicia and her husband reside in Red Wing and have three children.
Nate Birkholz has joined Merchants Bank as Trust Department Manager/SVP.
Nate Birkholz has joined Merchants Bank as Senior Vice President and Trust Department Manager, according to Greg Evans, President and Chief Banking Officer.
“Nate is a valuable addition to our current team of Trust experts. He is an attorney with nine years of estate planning, tax and business experience. He brings significant knowledge of wealth management to this role, as well as a passion for building relationships,” said Evans.
Birkholz was the Trust Department Manager at Eastwood Bank in Rochester for the past two years and was also previously a Trust Officer for Wells Fargo. Before his time with Wells Fargo, Birkholz practiced law for seven years for two firms, including Wendland Utz of Rochester. He spent much of his childhood growing up in Winona and is looking forward to relocating to the area with his wife, son and daughter.
“I have fond memories of Winona and am excited to build relationships with community members and businesses in all the markets Merchants services,” Birkholz said. “I look forward to sharing the Merchants Bank story and the services the Trust Department offers.”
Birkholz is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law. He received his undergraduate degrees from Minnesota State University in Mankato and Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato.
The employees at Merchants Bank have a collective sweet tooth, and they are willing to support it, especially when it comes to a great cause like the Rivertown Shuffle/Relay for Life. During 2014 Relay for Life events at Merchants Bank, Merchants’ employees raised $4,816.63, including $3,015 in a Pie Auction where Merchants employees baked and donated 26 pies that other employees bid on.
“All of our employees have been touched by cancer in some way – themselves, a relative, a friend – to know we are able to do something to help is a great feeling,” said Kerri Bronk, who coordinates the Merchants Bank participation.
Other activities included a basket raffle, where employees put together gift baskets of special interest. Contributions for the raffle were $1,250. Other events included a bake sale, a book sale and a lunch. More events are planned before the event, including the sale of luminaries to Merchants’ employees in honor of and in memory of loved ones who have had cancer.
Bronk said the pie auction has been ongoing since 2010, and the Bank has supported the Rivertown Shuffle/Relay for Life since before she started at Merchants 17 years ago. Bronk said she is just part of a large committee at Merchants that plans and executes the employee events.
“There have been many faces on the committee over the years, but the one constant is Merchants’ commitment to the community,” Bronk said. “The Rivertown Shuffle/Relay for Life has had a huge impact on the Winona Community, and our employees step up for this cause and many others throughout the year.”
Rodney Nelsestuen has joined Merchants Bank as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer.
Rodney Nelsestuen has joined Merchants Bank as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, according to Sue Savat, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
“Rodney’s expertise in planning, implementing and managing technology services will be a benefit to our customers. With his leadership, Merchants will focus on technology that best fits the needs of our customers and company operations,” said Savat.
Nelsestuen has been in the financial services industry for his entire career, including most recently at Eastwood Bank as the Vice President of Information Technology. He also has experience as a consultant for global financial institutions and technology companies.
“Merchants’ top priority is customer service and satisfaction. I look forward to contributing to that culture of service by bringing a sharper focus to technology services and the Information Technology team,” said Nelsestuen.
Nelsestuen graduated first in his class from the Graduate School of Banking in Madison. He holds a graduate certificate in Information Systems Management from the Keller Graduate School of DeVry University in Milwaukee and Chicago and a Master of Fine Arts from Hamline University in St. Paul. He received his Master in Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School and his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
CEO Rod Nelson reports a net income of $6,335,210 for the first six months of the year for Merchants Financial Group, Inc.
Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) reported net income of $6,335,210 for the first six months of the year. The income is both ahead of plan and ahead of last year’s income of $6,104,872 for the first half of the year, according to MFGI President & CEO Rod Nelson.
Nelson pointed out that MFGI has continued its focus on credit quality and has experienced significant loan growth. Mortgage activity, while not at the levels of the past several years, also contributed positively to growth.
“Our growth was excellent across our entire organization. All of our regions finished the first half of the year above plan,” Nelson said. “I believe it is a direct result of the service-oriented approach that all of our employees embrace when interacting with our customers and co-workers.”
Nelson said that as he looks forward to the remainder of the year, he expects continued strong performance, including achieving planned income for the last six months of the year.
Bobbi Kasel has been promoted to Assistant Vice President/Personal Banking Manager, according to Merchants Bank in Hastings President Bruce Goblirsch.
Kasel started with Merchants in 2004 as a Customer Service Representative, was promoted to Personal Banking Officer in 2005, and became the compliance officer for the Twin Cities Region in 2007.
“Bobbi has done a great job in building our consumer lending business, and she has been instrumental in the growth and development of our bank in Hastings,” Goblirsch said. “Her knowledge of our customers and their financial goals has been an important part of our growth.”
In addition to her other responsibilities, Kasel manages the customer service and teller staff in Hastings.
“It’s a pleasure to serve our customers and meet their financial needs in whatever way we can,” Kasel said. “We have a great team here in Hastings, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”