Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Announces Record Year with $13,454,698 in Net Income


Rod Nelson, President/CEO

Preliminary net income numbers for Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) show its best year in history with $13,454,698 in earnings, according to MFGI President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson. The numbers are subject to final audit.

The record year is consistent with the strong earnings history of the organization. The previous record was $12,439,492 in net income in 2012.

“All of our employees across our 21 locations did great work in 2015,” Nelson said. “The work of our lenders was especially critical to our success in 2015.”

Nelson noted that loan growth was 12.1% over 2014. Deposits increased by 2.6% and MFGI’s capital grew from $131.2 million at year end 2014 to $139 million at year end 2015, a 5.9% increase. Total assets ended the year at $1,589,202,831.

Nelson said four locations – Winona, Lakeville, Onalaska and Hastings – and the company’s leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, topped $1 million in net income.

“It is important to note that all our locations contributed significantly to our record year. As a community banking organization, the size of our banks and the communities they serve vary greatly, and the leadership in those locations are empowered to best meet the needs of their customers and the area. We think this sets us apart in the banking industry,” Nelson said. “Our success has been built on the long-term personal relationships our employees build with our customers. We believe that is a primary reason people choose Merchants Bank.”

MFGI owns 21 Merchants Bank locations, including Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

The ownership of Merchants Financial Group is made up of its more than 450 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Enter our Easter Coloring Contest


It’s easy to enter!

  1. Color your coloring sheet.
    0-5 years coloring sheet
    6-9 years coloring sheet
    10+ years coloring sheet
  2. Complete the Registration Information at the bottom of this page.
  3. Drop off or mail your completed coloring sheet to your nearest Merchants Bank location by March 25 to be entered in our contest. You could win a prize!*

And, because you and all of our young savers are important to us, we’ll have a special Easter treat waiting for you for returning your entry. We look forward to seeing you and don’t forget to tell a friend about our Easter coloring contest!

*Please submit entries by March 25, 2016. Judging will take place on March 25, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. Three age groups: 0-5 years, 6-9 years, and 10 years and older. A prize will be awarded to each age group. No purchase or customer relationship necessary to enter or win. One entry per person. Winner will be notified by telephone. Children of Merchants employees are not eligible to win.

Change to Online Banking Login Screen on Merchants Bank Website

Click here to login to your Merchants Bank Online Banking Account.

Previous Login Box (Before 1/12/2016)

Online Banking Login Box Before 1/12/2016

New Login Box (After 1/12/2016)

Login Box AFTER 1/12/2016

What’s changing? After clicking on the Online Banking Login button featured on the home page of our website, you will be redirected to a Secure Online Banking login screen where you will enter both your Login ID and Password on the same screen, rather than having to enter them on separate screens. For your protection, if we do not recognize your Login ID, Password, or the device you are logging in from, you will continue to be presented with your personal challenge questions to verify your identity, just as you always have been. Your security is always our top priority.

This is a temporary change. We are in the process of redesigning our website and will be launching our new website in the first quarter of 2016. For your convenience, as part of our new site design you will be able to enter your Login ID and Password directly from the home page of our new website.

If you use Internet Explorer and the login box appears to be cut off, you can solve the problem by clearing your cache. Follow these instructions how to clear your cache in Internet Explorer.

We thank you for your patience as we make this temporary, but necessary change. Your information security is always our top priority. If you have any questions, please contact Merchants Bank Electronic Banking Customer Support at 866-496-0522.

Merchants Capital Resources, Inc. Changes Name to Merchants Bank Equipment Finance


Bradley Brolsma, President

Merchants Capital Resources, Inc. has changed its name to Merchants Bank Equipment Finance as of January 1, according to President Bradley R. Brolsma.

“Our new name better describes what we do best, and that is financing the equipment needs of our customers,” Brolsma said of the company, founded in 1988.

Merchants Bank Equipment Finance primarily provides equipment financing options to businesses located throughout the central U.S. and also partners with other finance companies in equipment finance transactions outside of their marketing footprint.  The company finances tangible assets over terms of 2 to 10 years, on equipment with values generally ranging from $50,000 to over $10 million.

Merchants Bank Equipment Finance tailors equipment financing options to best meet the needs of its customers across many industries, including construction, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing and food and agriculture. Brolsma pointed out the name change will not change the positive experience of current and prospective customers.

“Our same knowledgeable staff will be ready to help current and new customers with their equipment financing needs,” Brolsma said. “We’re looking forward to this next chapter in our growth.”

The name change also more closely aligns Merchants Bank Equipment Finance with the brand of its parent company, Merchants Bank, N.A., which is a business banking leader in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Merchants Bank Equipment Finance will now operate as a division of the Merchants Bank parent organization, as opposed to a wholly owned subsidiary.

Merchants Bank was founded in 1875 in Winona, Minnesota, where it remains headquartered. Merchants Bank is a member FDIC and equal housing lender. Financing is subject to approval.

Shawn Sackman Named Senior Lending Officer for Merchants Bank’s Southeast Region

Shawn Sackman, Senior Lending Officer

Shawn Sackman, Senior Lending Officer and Senior Vice President

Shawn Sackman has been promoted to Senior Lending Officer and Senior Vice President for Merchants Bank’s Southeast Region, according to Southeast Regional President Jay Friedl.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Shawn, and one that he has earned and deserves,” Friedl said. “The people who will benefit the most from this are our other commercial bankers in the region, who will learn from him, and all of our customers throughout the area, who benefit from his dedication to serving their needs.”

Sackman will work as senior lending officer for Merchants locations in Rushford, Lanesboro, Spring Grove, Caledonia, La Crescent and Onalaska, where he has worked as a Commercial Banker and Vice President since 2011, when he joined the Merchants organization.

“This position allows me to help our commercial bankers to continue to build long-term relationships with our existing customers and meet the needs of new customers,” Sackman said. “My knowledge will help our team to be responsive to our customer lending and cash management needs. It’s a great team, and I look forward to mentoring and coaching them.”

Before joining Merchants, Sackman had worked as a Senior Business Relationship Manager in the area for a large national bank from 2000 to 2011. He’s a native of Montana and a graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse. He is very involved volunteering in the area and was awarded the 2015 Volunteer Award by the Great Rivers United Way.

Visit our website for more information on our commercial and business loans, cash management tools and other business accounts.

Subject to approval. Equal Housing Lender.

The Top Businesses that Benefit From Direct Debit


Have you ever considered using Direct Debit to collect payments from your customers? Here’s how it works: Once authorized by your customers, payments are automatically transferred from a customer bank account to your business account. It’s that easy.

Direct Debit can provide many benefits, including:

  • Quicker access to funds due to automatic, electronic transfer
  • Eliminating the time and headache of reminding customers to make a payment
  • Saving money by reducing the cost of collecting, depositing and reconciling checks
  • Ability to create more accurate forecasts for income and cash flow

Businesses that get the most benefit from Direct Debit are typically those that collect regular payments from the same customers, for example:

  • Property managers or renters for monthly rent, lawn care or snow removal, heat or other payments.
  • Health centers and workout facilities for monthly or annual membership fees.
  • Churches or nonprofits for recurring contributions or donations.
  • Cities and government entities for monthly or regular utility payments, such as water.

If you would like to learn if Direct Debit could make an impact on your business, contact one of our Cash Management Specialists today.


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.