Easy Artichoke Spinach Dip

 

BlogRecipe-ArtichokeSpinachDipIngredients

  • 1 can artichoke hearts, whole or quartered (not packed in oil), cut in small pieces, reserve juice
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • garlic to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • imitation crab meat, optional

 

Directions

Saute spinach, oil and vinegar in pan over low heat. This should only take a few minutes – do not overcook! In mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and artichoke pieces; add approximately 2 tablespoons of juice from can of artichokes. Add remaining ingredients. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Serve with baguette bread, crackers, bagels or breadsticks. You can also add imitation crab meat. This dip can be served cold or warm.

Cook’s note: To serve warm: Top with more cheese and bake in pan at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Add parsley to garnish.

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

Collect Payments for Your Business with our Tools for Collection

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.comWould you like to better manage your businesses money and make it work harder. With three areas of focus – Tools for Collection, Tools for Disbursement and Tools for Management – Merchants Bank’s Cash Management area – what some banks call Treasury Management – is worth exploring.

Learn more about Tools for Collection:

Credit Card Processing – Make it easier for your customers to shop with more payment options when you accept Visa, MasterCard or Discover debit, credit and gift cards in person, through your website or via mobile. Subject to credit approval.

Direct Debit – Use Direct Debit to collect funds from your customers. A customer payments is automatically withdrawn from the customer account at the beginning of the bank business on the day authorized and then deposited into your account. Subject to credit approval.

Cash Concentration – Using Merchants Bank Online Banking, you can bring cash from multiple accounts and other banks together into a central account so you can better manage it and put it to work for you. Subject to credit approval.

Deposit-On-Demand – Reduce your time running to the bank by converting paper checks into an image and transmitting the images to the Bank for deposit from the comfort of your office.

For more information on Cash Management services, visit our website.

Vehicles That Help Hold Their Value

eNews-Cars

If you’re like most people, buying a new vehicle is among the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. But unlike a house or other investments, your vehicle almost immediately depreciates.

Last year, the average new car was predicted to retain about 38.2 percent of its original value after five years, meaning that a $50,000 model will only be worth nearly $19,100 at trade-in time. Pick a comparable model that’s estimated to hold five percent more of its value than average and you’ll realize an extra $2,650.

Hyundai Accent

Forbes reported that the valuation experts at ALG ranked the Accent as the subcompact with the highest residual value. Already ranked by US News ahead of competition including the Dodge Dart, Volkswagen Jetta, MINI Cooper, Toyota Corolla, MAZDA2, Nissan Sentra and Mitsubishi Mirage, the Accent feels like a car far bigger than its dimensions suggest. In fact, the EPA classified it as a compact as opposed to subcompact thanks to its abundance of interior volume.

Starting at an MSRP of $14,745, the Accent is available in both four- and five-door body styles and fuel estimates rated up to 38 mpg highway.

“There are plenty of capable small cars vying for your monthly payment, so we recommend test-driving the competition before deciding. But if you’re looking for a subcompact that acts like something more, make sure the 2014 Hyundai Accent is on your radar,” according to AutoTrader.

 Toyota Tundra

Although sales of the Tundra tend to come up short from the competition, including the run of the mill models from Ford, Ram and Chevrolet, the Tundra actually bests them when it comes to resale value. A 63.7 percent residual value at 36 months and 52.3 percent at 60 months is best in the segment.

With a standard V8 engine, the Tundra starts at an MSRP of $29,020, and offers a model for nearly every buyer, from the off-road enthusiast who would benefit most from the Tundra TRD Pro with Bilstein shock absorbers, tow hooks and TRD graphics, to the super luxurious 1794 Edition with perforated leather seating and ventilated front seats. The Tundra proves that sometimes the road less traveled is the smartest road to take. For those looking for a smaller pickup, the Toyota Tacoma won in its segments, too.

 Acura RDX

For those who want a more luxurious ride, but don’t want to throw away their money in the process, would find it beneficial to check out the RDX crossover that won best Premium Compact Utility vehicle from ALG. Its $35,095 asking price provides plenty of value with standard leather seating surfaces, 10-way power driver’s seat, a 273-hp 3.5-liter V6 that still gets up to 28 mpg highway, and a driving experience that’s more commonly associated with a sedan. All-wheel drive is also available to maximize performance in all driving conditions and an available Technology Package further adds the Acura Navigation System, Acura/ALS surround sound system, GPS linked climate control and High-Intensity Discharge headlights.

“The 2015 Acura RDX is a rare example of a smaller SUV that does almost everything right,” according to Kelley Blue Book. “It adeptly plays in the premium segment, yet boasts a modest character, a strong-yet-efficient V6, and a long list of standard equipment.”

There are plenty of other great models out there so do your research, and whatever you decide on, stop by today to see the best type of financing we can help provide.

Please note, subject to credit approval. Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

140 for 140: Helping Businesses and Communities for 140 Years

140Blog

In 2015, we honor our commitment to the communities we serve with the 140 for 140 campaign, which highlights a minimum of 140 contributions we make to those communities in the form of volunteer time, education programs, event sponsorships and more.

Merchants Bank was founded July 17, 1875. Since our beginning, we have grown to 21 locations serving 18 communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. A number of our locations will also be celebrating significant anniversaries with the Merchants Bank organization in 2015: St. Charles (25 years), Apple Valley, Hastings, Hampton and Cottage Grove (15 years), Lakeville (10 years), and Spring Grove (5 years).

Since our first day, our employees have been dedicated to improving the communities they serve. We are proud to celebrate those contributions this year.

Welcome to the Following New Employees

eNews-NewStaff1-29-14At 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.

Barb Johnson has joined Merchants Bank as a Lead Teller in St. Charles. Barb was previously the owner of Potiche Pottery and Gifts in Lanesboro and has also worked at North Castle Graphics and Mestads Bridal. She is married with three children and has lived in St. Charles for 16 years. She enjoyed studying in England.

Leanne Reich has joined Merchants Bank as a Customer Service Representative in Red Wing. Leanne previously worked at Home State Bank in Willmar, MN as a Teller/Customer Service Representative. Leanne and her husband, Dan recently moved to the Lake City area from Hutchinson, MN. They have three sons, David, Nathan and Jacob. Leanne and Dan are excited to be living in this area of the state and are enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Robert Root has joined the Merchants Bank as VP/Network, Datacenter and PC Services in the Information Technology department in Winona. Bob previously worked at Eastwood Bank as an Information Officer and Project Management Officer. He is an avid fisherman and golfer. He lives in Stewartville, MN with his wife and two college age kids.

Ashley Wagner has joined Merchants Bank as an Electronic Banking Representative in Winona. Ashley has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising from Winona State University and a Certificate in Baking & Pastry from the International Culinary School at the Art Institute. She formerly worked at Mon Petit Cupcake, LLC and Mugby Junction. She loves to spend time with her friends and family.

Commercial, Ag and SBA Lending Trends

The economy continues to improve. One indicator we look at in banking is the increase in our lending portfolio.

GraphOur lending portfolio continues to grow at Merchants Bank.

  • Overall our lending portfolio has increased 15.7% through the first three quarter of 2014 compared to the first three quarters of 2013, where we had a very strong year compared to many other financial institutions.
  • Commercial lending increased 16.3% across all of our locations.
  • Ag lending has increased 12.9% and SBA lending has increased 16.3%.

The increase shows our expertise in and commitment to growing these important segments to help make the places we live better.

Contact a Business Banker today to learn more about business financing and leasing options at Merchants Bank. Subject to credit approval.

How Can Your Business Benefit from Positive Pay?

Tanya Schamaun thinks Positive Pay* “is just smart business sense.” Tanya is the Accounting Director at Winona State University and, along with co-worker Julie Sammann, has been using Merchants Bank’s fraud detection service Positive Pay since May.

“Positive Pay protects Winona State University from fraud. We can detect problems with copied or altered checks quickly and easily,” said Tanya.

Here’s how Positive Pay works: Each day, Winona State provides Merchants with an electronic inventory of checks issued. When the checks presented on WSU accounts each day are processed, Positive Pay matches the account number, check number and dollar amount of each check presented for payment against a list of checks previously authorized and issued by Winona State. All three components of the check must match exactly. When a check is reviewed that isn’t a match in the file, it becomes an “exception item.” Tanya or Julie then has the chance to review the image and can instruct the bank to pay or return the check.

“The whole process is very user-friendly. It only takes a few minutes a day,” said Julie. “Even if you don’t have your own IT department to help you create an inventory of checks to upload to Merchants, you can enter a check manually in a minute or less.”

According to Tanya, “[Positive Pay] is simple to use, even for a small organization. The hardest part is remembering your password!”

To learn more about how Positive Pay can help your business, contact one of our Cash Management specialists today.

*Fees may apply