When Merchants Bank acquired the former Alliance Bank location in Eau Claire on February 14, it meant a new phone system for the bank that matched what Merchants had in place at all of its locations. That was good fortune for Beacon House, part of the Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network. Merchants Bank – Eau Claire President Mark Willer worked with Kelly Christianson, Executive Director of Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network, and Pam Kozuch, owner of Telephone Systems Incorporated (TSI), to make sure the phones and components were installed at Beacon House. Merchants supplied the previously used components and TSI provided the installation. Beacon House serves families and pregnant women who are temporarily homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Merchants Bank will join the Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) in celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th birthday by offering birthday cake at Merchants’ downtown Winona location from noon to 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 23. The public is invited.
“We are excited to commemorate William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday and kick-off our ‘450 Celebrate the 450th’ campaign,” said Emily Kurash, GRSF Director of Marketing and Sales. “There will be many wonderful ways for supporters and fans of GRSF to mark this milestone during the 2014 season, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to start the celebration with Merchants Bank and the entire community.”
GRSF members will be on hand to serve the cake and talk about the upcoming season. Merchants, celebrating its 139th year, has been a significant supporter of GRSF since its inception. This is GRSF’s
11th season, which will run June 26 – August 3 and will feature “Hamlet,” “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.” Other events include free weekend concerts and educational events for all ages throughout the season.
“We value the cultural and economic contributions GRSF makes to improve the quality of life all of us enjoy across this region,” said Merchants Bank President & Chief Banking Officer Greg Evans. “We invite our neighbors in to show their support for GRSF by having a piece of cake and learning more about the coming season.”
Apple Valley students who made lay-ups, free throws and half-court shots during Merchants Bank’s Money Ball halftime shootout at Apple Valley High School basketball games this season earned $1,680. Because of their efforts, Merchants Bank will match the $1,680 earned and donate that money to the Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club.
“It was great fun. The students and fans alike really enjoyed the halftime shootout. We’re happy to do it and happy to match that sum to the boosters who are supporting these great high school athletes,” said Merchants Bank’s Twin Cities Regional President Lawrence Stovern.
Students signed up before each game and were chosen in a random drawing to be the Money Ball shooters at both boys’ and girls’ games. The students reached the total by receiving a $10 gift card each time a participating student made a lay-up, a $25 gift card was given each time a participating student made a free throw, and $100 in cash was given each time a student made a half-court shot. The half-court shot was a progressive jackpot and there were three big winners during the year – one for $500 by Ja’Quan Robinson, another for $300 by Mohamed Kone and $100 to another Apple Valley student.
“The best part is the kids were actually the ones who raised the money for the boosters by making the shots,” Stovern said.
CALEDONIA/SPRING GROVE, Minn. – Caledonia native Matthew Schuldt has been appointed Market President for Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove, according to Merchants Bank’s Southern Region President Jay Friedl.
Schuldt served as Interim President of First Community Bank in Lester Prairie, Minn., and also worked in other roles at the bank, including Vice President of Lending, working with consumer, agriculture and commercial lending customers.
“Matt’s experience will serve our Caledonia and Spring Grove customers very well as he helps them find the solution that is best for their individual needs,” Friedl said.
In addition to his experience at First Community Bank, Schuldt also spent eight years working with Eide Bailly, a public accounting and business advisory firm. He also volunteers as a youth wrestling coach.
“I’m excited to be a part of an organization so well thought of by community bankers throughout the state. Certainly, Merchants has the resources that make it possible to finance almost any sort of loan, but the strength of the organization is how it treats each customer like that person is the Bank’s only customer,” Schuldt said.
Schuldt started his new position in Caledonia and Spring Grove on February 24.
On February 11, the Project FINE Board of Directors hosted its “Annual Report to the Community” at the Saint Mary’s University Toner Center. This event is a celebration of the organization’s activities and accomplishments during the previous year and a time to thank the many partners, stakeholders, staff and volunteers who help Project FINE make a positive impact in our community.
Each year, Project FINE recognizes an exceptional partner with the Partners Award. For 2013, we are pleased to honor Merchants Bank with this award.
Merchants Bank has been an exceptional partner to Project FINE for many years. In 2013, they completed an organizational diversity assessment and collaborated with Project FINE to provide diversity training for bank staff. Merchants Bank also offered a series of banking education sessions for refugees and immigrants on home ownership and refinancing and they continue their commitment to serving diverse populations by providing interpreters for their non-English speaking bank clients. As a result of this education and outreach, four newcomer families purchased a home through Merchants Bank in 2013 and countless others opened accounts.
Project FINE would like to thank the leadership and staff at Merchants Bank for their commitment to creating an inclusive environment and meeting the banking needs of newcomers in our community. We are proud to partner with Merchants Bank and over 60 other community businesses, organizations and service providers to build a respectful and sensitive community.
We think February is a great time to get out and plan for the coming year. That’s why we’re going to be at a number of shows in February. We invite you to join us and tap into our knowledge as you prepare for 2014. Whether it’s a remodeling project or a new home, Merchants Bank team members will be on hand with answers for you.
Follow on our Facebook page for information on what is to come, or to recap recent events.
Feb 6: Winona Bloodmobile, 9 a.m.-2:45 p.m., Merchants Bank, downtown Winona. If you’d like to donate, please call (507) 452-4258.
Feb 7-9: Rochester Area Builders Home Show , 2/7: 3-8 p.m., 2/8: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., 2/9: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Mayo Civic Center, Rochester.
Feb 15-16: St. Charles Community Showcase, 2/15: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2/16: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., St. Charles Elementary School.
Feb 21-23: Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association Home & Garden Show, 2/21: 1-8 p.m., 2/22: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 2/23: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center.
Feb 22-23: Winona Better Living Show, 2/22: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2/23: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Winona Senior High School.
Feb 26-March 2: Minneapolis Home and Garden Show, 2/26: noon-9 p.m., 2/27: 10 a.m.-9 p.m., 2/28: 10 a.m.-10 p.m., 3/1: 9 a.m.-9 p.m., 3/2: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Minneapolis Convention Center.
Feb 27: Your Keys to Home Ownership home buyer and builder seminar, 5:45-7 p.m., Merchants Bank, downtown Winona.
Area businesses and individuals added to the total by bring food and money to Merchants in St. Charles. Also included in the total was $250 that the Southeast Minnesota Rural Education and Resource Center received from “Swipe Out Hunger,” a Facebook giveaway that Merchants ran to coincide with “10 Days of Giving.” “Swipe Out Hunger” benefited food shelves throughout the region.
“We are thankful for the generosity of our neighbors, and we are grateful that we have the opportunity to help the good people at the Southeast Minnesota Rural Education and Resource Center,” said Sandra Pasche of Merchants Bank.
Merchants Bank has been holding the “10 Days of Giving” for the past 25 years. This is the second year for the Facebook giveaway.