Jim Peterson Joins Merchants Bank as a Commercial and Ag Banker

Commercial Banker

Jim Peterson, Commercial and Ag Banker

Jim Peterson has joined Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls as Vice President and Commercial and Ag Banker, according to Brian Hokanson, Senior Vice President and Senior Lender for Merchants Bank.

“We believe Jim’s skills, especially in the area of ag lending, are a tremendous fit for our focus as a bank, but, more so, the right fit for our current and future customers,” Hokanson said.

Peterson has 16 years of commercial lending experience, working both in North Dakota and Minnesota. In addition to serving the needs in the Cannon Falls area, Peterson will also work with Ag customers in the Rochester area.

“The areas of focus that are important to me are also important to Merchants Bank,” Peterson said. “It has a great reputation for taking care of the immediate and long-term needs of its customers. I’m happy to be part of the team.”

Peterson is a native of North Dakota and graduate of North Dakota State University, with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He has a long history of community involvement and a love for the outdoors, including time serving on the Advisory Board for the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department. Jim and his wife, Tina, are looking forward to being active members of the Cannon Falls community.

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.


Jim Vrchota Joins Merchants Bank in Winona as a Vice President and Commercial Banker

Jim Vrchota, Vice President and Commercial Banker

Jim Vrchota, Vice President and Commercial Banker

Jim Vrchota has joined the team at Merchants Bank as Vice President and Commercial Banker, according to Randy Domeyer, Senior Vice President and Commercial Banking Department Manager

“We are excited to have Jim join our team in Winona,” Domeyer said. “His experience in business development and lending will benefit our customers and our lending team here at Merchants Bank.”

Vrchota has more than 33 years of experience in the banking industry, much of it as a Senior Lender and Market President. Most recently he served as Senior Vice President at United Prairie Bank in Spicer, Minnesota, where he worked in commercial and ag lending. Vrchota also has a great deal of experience in SBA (Small Business Administration) lending.

“I am happy to be a part of a banking organization that has such a tremendous reputation for helping its customers meet their goals,” Vrchota said. “I look forward to becoming a part of the Winona community.”

Vrchota has a long history of community involvement, especially in the areas of economic development and community service.

Liz Diggins Joins Merchants Bank in Red Wing as a Commercial Banker

Liz Diggins, Commercial Banker

Liz Diggins, Commercial Banker

Liz Diggins has joined Merchants Bank in Red Wing as a Commercial Banker, according to Brian Hokanson, Senior Vice President and Senior Lender for Merchants Bank.

Diggins is well known in the Red Wing area, spending the past 12 years working with commercial and agricultural loans and loan customers at Associated Bank in Red Wing.

“Liz is a tremendous communicator, who enjoys working with clients and helping them to achieve success,” Hokanson said. “We are fortunate she has chosen Merchants Bank, and we look forward to working with her as she utilizes her skills helping others reach their goals.”

A Red Wing native, Diggins is currently the treasurer for the United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties. She also serves as treasurer for the Wells Creek Riders Snowmobile Club.

“I am thrilled to be working with Merchants Bank because of its commitment to the community,” Diggins said. “Helping Red Wing to continue to grow is important to me, and there’s no better place to make that commitment to the future than at Merchants Bank.”

In addition to graduating from Red Wing Central High School, Diggins has an undergraduate degree in business management from the College of Saint Benedict and a graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

John Piscitiello Joins Merchants Bank in Apple Valley as a Commercial Banker

John Piscitiello, Vice President and Commercial Banker

John Piscitiello, Vice President and Commercial Banker

John Piscitiello has joined Merchants Bank in Apple Valley as a Vice President and Commercial Banker, according to Merchants Bank Regional President Lawrence Stovern.

“John’s experience with commercial lending and his experience in the Twin Cities market will allow him to assess and meet the needs of his customers,” Stovern said. “We look forward to John growing with us as we continue to expand our reach in the Twin Cities.”

Piscitiello has been in the banking industry the past 16 years, most recently with Associated Bank. He has also worked with the Safire Group, Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, and he started his career working in construction lending for his own company.

Piscitiello is a Winona native and graduate of Saint Mary’s University in Winona. Merchants Bank was founded in Winona.

“I grew up with Merchants Bank and know that it is an incredible organization and an exceptional lender. It’s also one of the best kept secrets in banking in the Twin Cities. That’s starting to change, and I look forward to introducing more business owners and key decision makers in the Twin Cities to Merchants Bank,” Piscitiello said.

Visit our website to learn more about business loans, lines of credit and more. Subject to credit approval.

Listening to the Customer

Merchants Bank, Business Loans

Yer Yang and William Moua, owners of Rollingstone Mini Mart.

If you were to ask William Moua and Yer Yang the secret to their success at the Rollingstone Mini Mart, they would tell you it’s been listening to their customers since they purchased the store in 2004.

The couple keeps their prices affordable. They offer hot food, convenience items, a small liquor store and fuel. They’ve been rewarded with customers who have made their store an important part of Rollingstone.

“Without this store, it would be a little harder for the people in town. We have something that they need,” Moua said. “I’d say we know 95 percent of our customers by name.”

So, when Moua’s customers told him they’d have no reason to go into Winona, if Moua and Yang would add a Laundromat, the couple decided to make the addition. The problem was, no one listened closely enough to them at first when they were looking for a loan.

Saved $8,000 in Fees

That was until they followed a recommendation from Project FINE and went to Merchants Bank and met Business Banker Greg Borcherding.

Moua had been told by a bigger bank that it would take three months just to find if he’d been approved for a loan, and up to three more months to complete the process.  Borcherding turned the loan around quickly and structured the loan in a way that saved Moua and Yang over $8,000 in fees.

Moua said he liked the way Borcherding treated them. “It’s personal with him,” Moua said. “He’s easy to work with, knowledgeable and very helpful.”

For Borcherding, the pleasure was all his. “They’re very nice people, hardworking and the place is always busy,” Borcherding said. “It’s important to the Rollingstone community.”

Moua said he wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Borcherding to other small business owners.“I’ve worked with many bankers, and Greg has been the best for me. I give him an A plus,” Moua said.

Merchants Banks offers business financing options for your specific needs. Click here to learn more.

Loans are subject to credit approval.