$50,000 Pledge for Confluence Community Arts Center

Mark Willer

Mark Willer

Merchants Bank has pledged $50,000 in support of the new community arts center that is part of the proposed Confluence Project in downtown Eau Claire.

“We believe that the Confluence Project and the new community arts center are important for our community, and as a community bank, we believe it’s our privilege to join our neighbors in our support,” said Merchants Bank – Eau Claire President Mark Willer. “We expect that the project will contribute significantly to both the cultural and economic development of Eau Claire and the entire Chippewa Valley. One of the cornerstones of the Merchants Bank philosophy is to support its customers and the communities it serves by donating volunteer time and making monetary contributions to important community projects.”

Merchants is a full-service bank and is a regional leader in mortgage and business lending. The Eau Claire location, just off London Road, opened in February of this year.

The Confluence Project is a proposed revitalization of property commonly referred to as the “Haymarket Site” at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. The public-private partnership seeks to construct a community arts center, which is the centerpiece of the project. A privately developed commercial/retail complex that includes housing suitable for University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students also is part of the project.

The Eau Claire City Council has pledged $5 million in city funds toward development of the community arts center. The arts center project also seeks $25 million in state funding and $5 million from Eau Claire County. The remaining arts center construction costs are sought from donations and tax credits. The $26 million commercial/retail and student housing complex is being privately financed.

Other members of the Confluence Project public-private partnership are Haymarket Concepts LLC, composed of Market & Johnson Inc., Commonweal Development Corp. and Blugold Real Estate LLC, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, and UW-Eau Claire. For information about making a commitment to the Confluence Project, contact Wally Rogers, Confluence campaign director, at wallacegrant@msn.com or 715-225-8685.

Beacon House Gets New Phone System

ECPhoneDonation2 copyWhen 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.

Jeff Zwiefelhofer Joins Merchants Bank as a Business Lender

ZwiefelhoferJeff

Jeff Zwiefelhofer

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. –Jeff Zwiefelhofer has joined Merchants Bank as an Assistant Vice President and Commercial Banker, according to Merchants Bank’s Eau Claire Market President Mark Willer.

Zwiefelhofer has been a business lender at Alliance Bank since 2009. He has worked as a community banker since 1983. Most of that time has been spent in the Chippewa Valley. Merchants Bank acquired Alliance Bank’s Mall Drive location February 14.

“Jeff is very well known in this area. That will be a benefit for Merchants as we build our brand in the Chippewa Valley. More so, it will be a benefit for Jeff’s customers as they build a relationship with a bank that has the resources to be a strong financial partner.” Willer said.

Zwiefelhofer has been an active community member. He is currently Treasurer of the Hastings Way Business Association, and a former Board Member of the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation and Chippewa County American Red Cross. He’s also a former Treasurer of the Chippewa Falls Jaycees, and a former member of the Chippewa Falls Main Street Marketing Committee, and the Woodville Lion’s Club.

“I look forward to sharing all that Merchants Bank has to offer. The people I know will be impressed by Merchants’ commitment to community banking and the resources that I will have available to me,” Zwiefelhofer said.

Merchants Bank Completes Acquisition of Eau Claire Location from Alliance Bank

Mark Willer

Mark Willer

Merchants Bank has taken ownership of the deposit accounts, loans and the physical location of the Alliance Bank office at 2728 Mall Drive in Eau Claire, as well as the loans and deposits of Alliance Bank’s Pinnacle Way location, according to Merchants Financial Group, Inc., President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson

“We look forward to exceeding the expectations of our new customers, and we look forward to showing the Chippewa Valley our commitment to the communities we serve,” Nelson said. “We are excited to be a part of this vibrant area.”

The sale was completed earlier today, and Merchants Bank will be ready to open its doors at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Mall Drive location. Long-time financial services leader Mark Willer has been named Market President and many of the Alliance staff have been retained.

“We recognize that Merchants Bank is new to the area, but we aren’t new to banking. Our philosophy is to be customer-centric, and we believe the best employees to serve the needs of our customers are people that they know,” Nelson said.

Merchants Bank acquired approximately $48 million in deposits and $17 million in loans from Alliance. Terms of the sale have not been disclosed.

Mark Willer Named Market President for Merchants Bank’s New Location in Eau Claire

Mark Willer

Mark Willer

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – Merchants Bank has named long-time Eau Claire financial services leader Mark Willer as Market President for its new Eau Claire location, according to Merchants Financial Group President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson.

“Mark has a deep understanding of the financial needs of consumers and businesses in the Chippewa Valley. His experience in our industry and genuine belief in the importance of community makes him a natural fit for our banking Team,” Nelson said.

Willer has been a part of the Eau Claire community since 1979 and from 1984 until recently had been a key part of the management team at Royal Credit Union, serving as Chief Operating Officer for 15 years.

“Merchants is the perfect fit for me. The values of the organization are the same that are important to me. Merchants believes in enriching the lives of the people who live and work in our community,” Willer said. “I look forward to introducing the Merchants brand to the area.”

Willer has a long history of community involvement and leadership. He is currently President of Downtown Eau Claire, Inc., a member of the local Junior Achievement board, a member of the City of Altoona Finance Committee, a member of the St. Mary’s Parish Endowment Fund Committee, co-chair for Taste of Eau Claire, and a past board member of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I look forward in taking the lead as Merchants Bank serves our community,” Willer said.

Merchants Bank has agreed to purchase Alliance Bank’s Mall Drive location, as well as deposits and loans from the Mall Drive location and Alliance’s Pinnacle Way location. All told, Merchants Bank will be acquiring about $48 million in deposits and $17 million in loans. The sale has received regulatory approval and is expected to be completed February 14. Terms of the sale have not been released.

Merchants Bank to Acquire Alliance Bank Location in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

MahoneyDickMerchants Bank and Alliance Bank have come to an agreement for Merchants Bank to purchase an Alliance Bank location in Eau Claire, according to Merchants Financial Group, Inc. President & CEO Richard L. Mahoney.

“We believe this is an excellent opportunity to expand into an important market,” Mahoney said. “We believe that our expertise in business banking and company resources will be appealing to business owners in the Eau Claire area.”

The purchase includes the Alliance Bank Mall Drive location, as well as deposits and loans from the Mall Drive location and Alliance’s Pinnacle Way location. All told, Merchants Bank will be acquiring about $48 million in deposits and $17 million in loans.

“We know that Merchants Bank will take care of customers from both locations and will provide those customers the service they have come to expect,”said V. Philip Reim of Alliance Bank.
Terms of the sale were not released. Pending regulatory approval, Mahoney said he anticipates the sale being completed near the middle of February.

“Our strong equity position allows us to act on opportunities that make sense for us to pursue,” Mahoney said. “With our organic growth and acquisitions, we expect continued growth for the foreseeable future.”

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