Would You Increase Your Holiday Sales if You Could?

Business Gift Cards

For the past eight years, gift cards have been the number one most wanted holiday wish list item, according to the National Retail Foundation. In addition, 62% of shoppers say they would like to receive a gift card.* The popularity of gift cards has steadily increased since 2003 and spending on gift cards reached more than $31 billion in 2014.*

Still not sure if gift cards are right for your business? Here are some incredible statistics:

  • 83% Total spending on gift cards has increased by 83% since 2003.**
  • $23 – On average, consumers spend $23 more than the original value of the gift card at a store. **
  • 3x more – On average, consumers visit a store three or more times to spend the balance of a gift card.**


Watch Now: Mike Swanson, Senior Consumer Banker and Branch Manager in Lakeville, explains how personalized business gift cards can benefit your business.

Offering gift cards is not only what your customers want, but it’s easy with Merchants Bank! Through our partnership with Valutec, you can begin offering personalized gift cards at your business in as little as 10 days. Simply speak to our Credit Card department by calling (507) 457-1160 or (800) 944-6285 to get started.

** firstdata.com.


Is Your Home Ready for Winter?


Minnesota and Wisconsin are known for cold winters. Just how cold? On January 9 and 10 of 1982, the wind chill was purported to be -71 degrees in Minnesota. That type of weather can be fatal to people and animals, and it really does a number on our homes, too.

Most days aren’t nearly that cold, but many can get downright numbing. What can you do to prepare your home for this weather? We’ve compiled some of the best tips.

As you go through these tips, remember that everyone has a different level of comfort in tackling home projects. Please consider hiring professionals whenever you believe it is necessary.


  • Insulate walls and attic.
  • Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near a fireplace, wood stove or portable heater. Vent all fuel-burning equipment outside.
  • Examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay.
  • Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces. Use a sealant to plug up any leaks.
  • Test your sump pump.


  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
    Service snow-removal equipment. Sharpen ice chopper and inspect snow shovels.
  • Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent them from causing a problem with ice or wind.
  • Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade around the exterior of your home should slope away from the house.
  • Remove and drain any attached hoses and store them for the winter.
  • Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
  • Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand.
  • Check the gutters and downspouts for proper fastening. Re-secure if loose or sagging. The weight of snow and ice can pull gutters off the house.
  • Clean gutters of any debris. Make sure downspouts extend away from the house by at least 5 feet.
    Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.

Projects Where You’ll Definitely Want Professional Help

  • Have chimney and flue inspected.
  • Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles. Have a professional replace them as necessary to prevent roof leaks.
  • Check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, and skylights and around vent pipes. Seal joints where water could penetrate.
  • Have a professional Inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is in good repair.

Again, please consider hiring local professionals when needed, including clearing your driveway and sidewalks, if necessary.

Don’t Forget Your Pets

When the weather gets cold, take care of your pets. Bring them inside, or make sure they have adequate shelter and unfrozen water, if they are outdoors.

If you need help financing any home repairs or projects, a Home Equity Line of Credit may be the answer. Contact your local Merchants Bank location today.

Tips compiled from emergency.cdc.gov, bobvila.com and kiplinger.com.

Loans are subject to credit approval.


In Honor of Harvest


Have you ever stopped to think about how farmers impact your day to day life? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food is more affordable in the United States than in any other developed country in the world thanks to our farmers. Plus, the U.S. farmer is the most productive in the history of the world (1).

Matt Schuldt, Market President

Matt Schuldt, Market President

At Merchants Bank, our Ag lenders support and partner with farmers every day to help create prosperous farming operations. “I like working with farmers because, for one thing, I grew up on a farm. My dad had 50 head of black Angus cattle. Farming is not a simple business, and each and every day I continue to learn from our local farmers,” said Matt Schuldt, Market President for Caledonia and Spring Grove.

In honor of harvest this fall, we’ve collected some amazing facts about the farm industry and farmers in the United States. Did you know?

  • There are 2.1 million farms in existence in the United States (2). Less than 1% of those farms are certified and exempt organic farms (3).
  • The average farm size is 434 acres (4).
  • Only 45% of farmers claim farming as their primary occupation (5).
  • 30% of farms are operated by at least one woman (2).
  • Farmers work an average of 9.91 hours per day on weekdays and 10.24 hours per day on weekends and holidays (6).
  • Minnesota farms rank first in production of green peas, red kidney beans, sugar beets, sweet corn and turkeys, (7) while Wisconsin farms rank first in production of cheese, milk goats, mink pellets, corn, cranberries and snap peas (8).
  • In 2015, the U.S. pork and poultry industries will produce a record 95 million pounds of meat (9).
Brian Hokanson, Ag Lender

Brian Hokanson, Ag Lender

We wish all of our ag customers a successful harvest. According to Brian Hokanson, Ag Lender in Cannon Falls and Red Wing, the harvest outlook is positive so far, “In this region, the start of harvest has been excellent. Yields are coming in better than expected and while prices on commodities, specifically corn and soybean are down, yields are giving everyone a little bit of hope for fall.”

For more information on financing, equipment loans and leases and other opportunities for your farm or business, contact an Ag Loan Officer at your local Merchants Bank.

Loans are subject to credit approval.

1 *www.epa.gov/agriculture/ag101/printeconomics.html
2 *www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Highlights/Farm_Demographics/
3 *www.agcensus.usda.gov/Newsroom/2015/09_17_2015.php
4 *www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Preliminary_Report/Highlights.pdf
5 *www.epa.gov/agriculture/ag101/demographics.html
6 *www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf
7 *www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Minnesota/Publications/Rankings/2015%20MN%20Rankings.pdf
8 *www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Wisconsin/Publications/Annual_Statistical_Bulletin/bulletin2014_web.pdf
9 *www.agweb.com/article/7-statistics-farmers-need-to-know-for-2015-NAA-alison-rice/


Missed the Southeast Minnesota Economic Forum?


More than 400 local business leaders gathered on Tuesday, September 29 to engage in a conversation about the future economic outlook for the city of Rochester. As a banking leader in the region with two locations in Rochester and a company with a vested interested in the economic growth of Southeast Minnesota, Merchants Bank was proud to be the pinnacle sponsor of this event.

The Southeast Minnesota Economic Forum featured two keynote speakers, Tim Penny and Steve Loehr, and two panels – including a panel featuring our Chief Financial Officer, Sue Savat – covering topics from business growth opportunities, ag industry insights, workforce challenges, government decisions and regulations, the impact of the Destination Medical Center plan and more.

For specific coverage and takeaways from the Forum, visit the KTTC website.


Earn Cash Now by Switching to eStatements

Merchants Bank eStatements

Did you know that 4% of identity theft victims report stolen mail as the source which fraudsters use to obtain their personal information?* You can help prevent fraud and earn $5 for each Merchants Bank checking or savings account enrolled in eStatements by the end of this month.

Why should I sign up for eStatements?
eStatements are convenient, notice of when they are ready to view is delivered directly to your email inbox and reduce your risk of fraud by helping you monitor your account activity regularly. Plus, you’ll receive an eStatement up to five days sooner than your paper statement.

Which accounts are eligible to earn $5?
All personal and business checking and savings accounts are eligible to earn $5 for each account enrolled in eStatements (payment automatically deposited into your enrolled account). Customer accounts previously enrolled in eStatements are not eligible for this promotion.

How do I enroll in eStatements?
Current Merchants Online Banking users can go to www.merchantsbank.com and log in to your Online Banking account. From the main menu, click Preferences and then eStatements. Click Edit in the bottom left corner of the screen to change your eStatement settings. There is no charge for enrolling in eStatements.

Not currently enrolled in Online Banking? Visit our website for more information on Merchants Online Banking and eStatements.

Earn your $5 today by signing up for eStatements. Login to your Online Banking account to get started.





Convenience for Businesses: Deposit-On-Demand Saving You Time and Money

Deposit on Demand

Are you a business owner looking for convenience? Would you like to decrease your number of trips to the bank during the cold winter months? You don’t need to look any further than Merchants Bank and the convenience provided by Deposit-on-Demand.

Merchants Deposit-On-Demand is a cash management tool which allows you to convert paper checks to images, which are transmitted to the Bank for deposit. Using a scanner and software provided by Merchants Bank, you can reduce the time it takes to create a deposit and eliminate the need to drive to the Bank to make your deposit.

How does Deposit-On-Demand work?

  • Paper checks are converted to images and then electronically transmitted to the Bank.
  • Same day availability cut-off times will be extended to 6:00 pm (CST).
  • Businesses can access images of checks deposited at their own computer for up to 7 years after contracting with the service.
  • Faster deposit creation and character amount and legal amount recognition to reduce hand keying or using remittance advices to automate receivables posting.

You are a perfect candidate for implementing Deposit-On-Demand if:

  • Your business doesn’t deal with a lot of cash
  • Your business is geographically challenged! (Not located near a Merchants Bank branch.)
  • Your business has few personnel available to take deposits to the Bank
  • Your business receives checks throughout the day and would like to get multiple deposits to the Bank without making multiple trips to the Bank.
  • You want to save money on service charges associated with deposited items.
  • Your business has higher receivable volume and wants to take advantage of today’s technology and add efficiency to the deposit and posting process.

Please Contact Us to learn how Merchants cash management can help your business. Or, give us a call at (800) 944-6285 to speak with one of our Cash Management Specialists.


Congratulate New 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.

Rebekah Hicks

Rebekah Hicks has joined Merchants Bank as an Electronic Banking Representative in Winona. Rebekah recently relocated with her family from Kansas City to the Winona area. She previously worked in banking for several years in Kansas City. Rebekah is excited to be part of the Merchants team.



Rachel Von Arx

Rachel Von Arx has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Caledonia. Rachel previously was a personal nanny and also worked as a Book Processor at E.F. Library Services. Rachel is the youngest of four siblings and has lived in Caledonia for the majority of her life. She graduated from Caledonia High School and Ripon College with a double major in English and Studio Art. Art and writing continue to be two of Rachel’s greatest passions.