Planting Seeds; Growing Business

Ryan BruceIt was after a storm in the Spring of 2001 that Merchants Bank in Rochester President John Doyle asked his insurance agent for a referral for someone to repair the Green Meadows branch after it had been damaged in a storm.

The insurance agent suggested Bruce Ryan, owner of Ryan Windows & Siding, Inc. By 2003, Ryan was a member of the Winona Board of Directors and then later the Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Board of Directors.

“Bruce has an excellent reputation in the Rochester area,” Doyle said. “We are fortunate to have him as a friend, board member and customer.”

Ryan’s relationship with Merchants grew and soon he started referring Merchants to the people he knew. He understands that referrals can have a great impact, especially when those referrals are low-key.

“Being on the board, I know how good the bank is. How sound and secure it is. I like to spread the word, but I don’t do it in a direct manner,” Ryan said. “If the subject comes up, I’ll share information about the Bank and let them know if they’re interested in other options, that they should consider Merchants. When you do it that way, you get to plant the seed with a lot of people. Sometimes, It takes a while. I planted a seed six or seven years ago that’s just now beginning to grow.”

Ryan is involved in his community. He is the past President of the Ronald McDonald House, where he continues to volunteer. He also volunteers at Gift of Life Transplant House and Hiawatha Homes, which promotes independence and community involvement for those with disabilities. He is also involved in supporting other causes throughout the Rochester area and often sees members of Merchants’ staff at those same events.

“It’s great to be able to talk to others about the quality people who work at the Bank, and then those employees happen to be at the event and you can introduce them,” Ryan said.

Ryan looks at his Board involvement as part of being on a big team that includes staff and other Board members from across all Merchants’ locations. He said he likes to look at Merchants from a customer’s perspective and he’s proud of what he sees.

“I’m very, very happy with the level of service I receive and my experience as a customer,” Ryan said. “I know the people I refer to Merchants will be treated the same way.”

This story is an excerpt from our 2012 Annual Report. Click here to view the full Annual Report.