How Can Your Business Prevent Credit Card Fraud?

ManWithCreditCardStaggering, sobering, scary. Those are just a few of the words that come to mind when you think about credit card fraud. Think of this, 97 percent of all companies suffer a data breach, according to a story CBS News’ “60 minutes” aired on November 30, 2014. So what can a company do? Most companies are doing all that they can. Still, it takes an average of 229 days from the time of the breach before it is discovered, according to the “60 Minutes” story. When a breach happens, a company tries to detect the breach as soon as it can and stop the bleeding as quickly as possible.

How can your company be protected? It really comes down to the company’s customers. There are a lot of tips that can be used. Here are just a few:

  • Keep information private and avoid sharing your information with other individuals.
  • Continually monitor accounts, including credit card and account statements.
  • Be skeptical. Question if things are what they seem. Hover over links to see where they lead. Verify email requests from companies.
  • Create strong passwords that are hard for others to detect and decipher and use passwords to protect your devices. (More information here on making a strong password.)
  • Ignore emails from senders you don’t know.

Learn the Secret to Understanding Quickbooks and Your Business Finances

ONABusinessSeminarbloggraphicPlease join us for one or more of the following FREE business sessions featuring speakers from JRM and Associates. All sessions include breakfast and will be held at Stoney Creek Inn (3060 S Kinney Coulee Road, Onalaska) from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.

  • Quickbooks Beyond the Basics Part 2 on Thursday, November 6 – Learn how to understand and utilize the income statement.
  • Year-End Tax Update on Thursday, December 4 – Prepare for your year-end taxes.

RSVPs are appreciated for planning purposes:

  • Becky Herrmann (blherrmann@merchantsbank.com or 608-779-8268)
  • Tricia Barnes (tricia@jrmcpa.biz or 608-781-8712)

Retreat Away for a Good Time

Have you ever wanted to have a family gathering but didn’t have a space big enough to host everyone that you wanted to invite? How about being able to quilt or scrapbook with a large group of friends but never had the space to use your creativity to the max? Well don’t fret; you can do all of this at Glad Gatherings.

Glad Gatherings, which opened November 2013, is a retreat house in Spring Valley, Minnesota, that is perfect for crafters but can be rented out for any occasion. “It is the perfect space for bridal showers, baby showers, graduations, weekend getaways, girls’ weekend, and much more,” said Co-Owners Denise Erichsen and Jenny Gurenwald.

According to co-owner Alissa Gibson, “It sleeps 12 people comfortably and has a dedicated craft space which comfortably accommodates 12 people plus their craft supplies.”

Denise Erichsen with her sister, Dolores Bierbaum, niece, Jenny Gruenwald, daughter, Alissa Gibson, are all co-owners of Glad Gatherings.

What started off as a special family occasion for the owners and their family is now a successful retreat away for families or big groups that are looking to be crafty or looking for a big enough space to fit all of their guests. The girls would get together a couple times a year to quilt or scrapbook and had done so in many other retreat houses. “We just really loved the memories we were making and we thought it would be really fun to find a place we could do our crafts that was big enough for all of our nieces and daughters. It is something really special that we wanted to share with everyone.” Erichsen said.

When it came to relying on a lender to help with getting Glad Gatherings started, Levi Livingood from the Merchants Bank Rochester, Northwest Plaza, location was an easy choice and is highly recommended by the owners. “He has been so helpful every step of the way,” stated Erichsen.

“He is fantastic, answers my emails right away, and has been here to visit us in Spring Valley multiple times already. Merchants Bank is great to work with because they make you feel warm and welcome. We would highly recommend any start up business to work with Merchants Bank. They really help make what may seem like work, easy.”

 

Loans are subject to credit approval.

Top Three Reasons Your Business Should Accept Credit and Debit Cards

Credit card processing can benefit any business

Credit card processing can benefit any business

Should your business accept credit or debit card payments? Big or small, brick and mortar or in-home business, thousands of employees or only two…the answer is yes! Businesses of all sizes can benefit from the ease and versatility of accepting credit or debit cards anytime, anywhere you choose. Here are the top three reasons you should accept credit or debit card payments:

  1. Convenience – Being able to accept major credit cards is expected by most of your customers. In TSYS’s 2013 Consumer Payment Choice Study, over half of respondents preferred a debit card as their overall payment method and 35% preferred a credit card. By using Merchants Bank’s Credit Card Processing, your business can meet customer expectations and provide options for accepting payments that are convenient for both you and your customers. Merchants Bank offers a variety of options for collecting payments including counter-top card readers, website interfaces and mobile card readers.
  2. Increase Sales – Accepting credit or debit cards greatly broadens your potential customer base to customers who no longer carry cash or checks with them. In addition, customers who pay by card can easily make impulse purchases without needing extra cash on hand or writing a larger check. Not offering this type of payment option could result in lost sales opportunities.
  3. Simple Pricing and Local Service – We understand that each business is unique, so we will work with you to determine the credit card processing pricing structure that makes sense for your business. Merchants Bank offers easy to understand, “all-in-one” discount fees based on the average dollar amount of your customer transactions (which is your average ticket size). Equipment costs will vary depending on your needs. As always, you’ll receive service and support from local bankers you know and trust. We promise to work with you to keep your costs as low as possible and customize Credit Card Processing to fit your individual business needs.
To get started with Merchant Bank Credit Card processing, simply contact your local branch to complete a Credit Card Processing Application and include two years of financials, or download the Credit Card Processing application here. Click here for more details on our credit card processing program.
 
Credit card processing is subject to credit approval.

Net Income Ahead of Plan and Last Year for the First Half of 2014

Rod Nelson

CEO Rod Nelson reports a net income of $6,335,210 for the first six months of the year for Merchants Financial Group, Inc.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) reported net income of $6,335,210 for the first six months of the year. The income is both ahead of plan and ahead of last year’s income of $6,104,872 for the first half of the year, according to MFGI President & CEO Rod Nelson.

Nelson pointed out that MFGI has continued its focus on credit quality and has experienced significant loan growth. Mortgage activity, while not at the levels of the past several years, also contributed positively to growth.

“Our growth was excellent across our entire organization. All of our regions finished the first half of the year above plan,” Nelson said. “I believe it is a direct result of the service-oriented approach that all of our employees embrace when interacting with our customers and co-workers.”

Nelson said that as he looks forward to the remainder of the year, he expects continued strong performance, including achieving planned income for the last six months of the year.

Greseth Joins Business Banking Team

GresethLauraLaura Greseth has joined the Business Banking team at Merchants Bank in Winona as an Assistant Vice President and Business Banker, according to Randy Domeyer, Senior Vice President and Senior Lending Officer for the Winona Region.

“Laura is an excellent banker. She has provided outstanding service to business banking and Ag banking customers over the past several years,” Domeyer said. “In addition to her banking skills, she has outstanding personal skills, which her customers have found to be valuable.”

Greseth has been with the Merchants organization since 2004 and was a Senior Credit Analyst for Merchants before joining Merchants Bank in St. Charles as Business Banker in 2009. A graduate of Winona State University, she grew up on a dairy farm in southern Fillmore County.

“My experience in St. Charles will benefit business and Ag customers in the Winona area. I’m excited to be back,” Greseth said. “I look forward to the new opportunities to help businesses meet their goals.”

During her time in St. Charles, Greseth maintained her home in Winona and was actively involved in Steamboat Days as a board member and officer and also volunteered with the Morrie Miller Athletic Foundation. She is looking forward to more community involvement.

Greg Borcherding Joins Merchants

BorcherdingGregGreg Borcherding has joined Merchants Bank as Business Banker/Vice President according to Randy Domeyer, Senior Lender and Business Banking Manager.

“Greg is a valuable addition and brings more than 20 years of business lending experience to our team. His familiarity with this region will be an asset to area businesses,” said Domeyer.

Most recently, Borcherding worked with Citizens State Bank in La Crosse and has also spent time in the Wisconsin Dells market. Borcherding has small business and business start-up experience. He is looking forward to contributing to the Winona community.

“I enjoy being involved in the community and appreciate Merchants’ strong partnerships in many Winona community efforts,” Borcherding said.

A native of Platteville, Borcherding is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Additionally, Borcherding is a member of the Lake Delton Lions and the finance committee for the Children’s Museum of La Crosse.