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.

Randy Domeyer Promoted

Randy Domeyer

Randy Domeyer

Randy Domeyer will succeed Dave Grewe as Manager for the Business Banking Department in Winona and as Senior Lending Officer for the Winona Region, according to Merchants Bank President & Chief Banking Officer Greg Evans.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Randy’s experience poised to carry on the commitment to excellence that Dave has demonstrated in that capacity for the past several years,” Evans said.

Domeyer joined Merchants in 2008, returning to Winona. Domeyer spent the first 20 years of his banking career with Norwest Bank and then Wells Fargo. He left in 2000 to become the President of Wells Fargo in Blue Earth and later transferred to become Wells Fargo’s Business Banking Manager in Faribault.  From 2005-2008, Domeyer was Chief Credit Officer for Roundbank in Waseca.

Grewe has led the Business Banking Department for the past five years. He has been with Merchants two times, first from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, and then again beginning in 2002. He has also worked in the La Crosse market with First Bank and State Bank.

Both Domeyer and Grewe have been exceptionally active in community activities. Domeyer is actively involved in the Winona Rotary Club, Winona County Chapter for the American Red Cross, and the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee. Grewe has been a member of the Winona Chamber of Commerce, a Chamber Ambassador, a long-time member of the Winona Jaycees, and a past Winter Carnival Chairman. He has been very involved in Steamboat Days, serving as President in 2006. Currently he is president of Westfield Golf Club and serves on both the Latsch Board and CEDA (Community Economic Development Association) Board.

Grewe, who will retire June 30, has already started transitioning his management responsibilities for oversight of the lending functions to Domeyer. Grewe will also work with members of the business banking team in Winona to make sure the needs of all customers are met.

Shining in the Spot Light

BusSpotlightSugarLoafENTaking pictures with customers, being a friendly employee, and creating a wonderful atmosphere at Sugar Loaf Ford. These are just a few of the many things part owner of Sugar Load Ford, Mike Puetz does that keeps Sugar Loaf Ford in Winona at the top of the market.

Sugarloaf Ford is the oldest dealership in Winona and was founded in 1977 by retired owner Bill Hutmacher, who grew up in Park Ridge Illinois and graduated with a Business degree from Michigan University in 1965.

Winona was a great fit for Sugar Loaf Ford, “We’ve had a strong, long run in Winona,” owner Mike Puetz says.

Puetz was hired at Sugar Loaf Ford in 2001 and became part owner in 2005. “I am lucky to get to work with a good business partner like Bill,” Puetz said, “the automobile business is without a doubt the most rewarding business one could ask for.”

It isn’t just about selling cars for Puetz, and the staff at Sugar Loaf Ford, it’s about creating a great experience for their customers. It’s not unusual to see customers stop in for a cup of coffee and lounge around in the lobby area. “Customers love to come here and we love to have them here,” says Puetz.

Sugar Loaf Ford also gives back to the community. With donations to several foundations including the Morrie Miller Foundation, Hutmacher and Puetz find it very important to give back to the Winona Community. “That’s why Merchants Bank is a great fit for us. It was an easy choice for us to bank there because of the wonderful customer and community service Merchants Bank gives,” said Puetz 

Puetz would highly recommend Merchants Bank.

“Merchants Bank is an easy choice, everyone takes care of us. They have personal service, pick up the phone when I call, and I have confidence in their ability to handle whatever comes their way. They have so far.”

Business Banker Randy Domeyer works with Sugar Loaf Ford. They have a good working relationship and have fun with each other. “Randy has helped me with many banking transactions; he takes care of business and is very professional,” says Puetz. Randy has been with Merchants Bank since 2008. You can reach him by phone at (507) 457-9310 or

Jay Wangen Joins Merchants Bank in Winona as a Business Banker

Jay Wangen

Jay Wangen

WINONA, Minn. – Jay Wangen has moved from Merchant Bank in Rochester to join the Business Banking team in Winona, according Senior Vice President/Senior Lender and Manager of Business Banking David Grewe.

“Jay has done great work for our customers in the Rochester area. He knows what makes a successful business and a successful business relationship,” Grewe said. “He’s very generous with his knowledge and time.”

Wangen has been in banking since 1998 and has been part of the Merchants Bank team since 2005. He and his family live in St. Charles.

“I look forward to working with business owners in the Winona area to help meet their financing needs,” Wangen said. “I look forward to building long-term relationships through helping those business owners meet their business goals.”

Jay sits on the area 504 Corporation Board of Directors (the Small Business Administration development company) and is very active in his church.

Employers, if the answer is “Yes”

The high cost of insurance may be a challenge for many employers. But there may be an answer to these questions:HSAEN

  • Are you combating higher health insurance premiums? Yes
  • Are you considering or are you offering your employees a high deductible health plan (HDHP)? Yes
  • Are you looking for peace of mind about your health care expenses? Yes
  • Do you want it to be as easy as possible? Yes

Then, you’ll want a Health Savings Account (HSA) from Merchants Bank.

The Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) is one business that is offering HSAs, and the results have been good, according to Jolie Severson, Payroll and Benefits Administrator at WAPS. More than 411 of the more than 600 employees at WAPS have HSA accounts.

“I would rate our experience as 10 out of 10,” Severson said. “The staff at Merchants is helpful with setting up our employees’ accounts online, allowing personal funds to be directly deposited. All questions and special circumstances are answered with efficiency and satisfaction.”

Severson said there are a number of other benefits for employees.

“It’s not a use it or lose it account, so all the funds in the account stays with the employee for years to come. There are employees who are building up this account for retirement with tax-free dollars,” Severson said. “Employees have become better health care consumers as they manage their medical needs.”

Plus, the account is portable if the employee were to leave and can be transferred to a spouse upon death.

If you want to learn more, talk with your insurance agent and then talk to us at Merchants Bank. We’d be happy to come on-site to help educate your employees.