Meet Alyssa Rood, Quality Assurance/ Loan Review Specialist at Merchants Bank

RoodAlyssaHow long have you been with Merchants?
Alyssa: I have worked at Merchants for over six years. I previously worked as our Fraud and Purchasing Specialist. I moved to Quality Assurance in 2012.

What do you enjoy about coming to work every day?
Alyssa: I love Merchants Bank employees. We have some fun, quirky people here and I’m a fun quirky, gal. I feel like I fit in pretty well.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?
Alyssa: They taught me that I needed to be realistic and save if I wanted to buy something special. When I was young, I knew I really wanted to go to Australia. So, I immediately started working in high school to save for the trip. I actually studied abroad there in the fall semester of my junior year of college.

What’s one thing on your bucket list?
Alyssa: I have an extensive bucket list. I see it as a fun checklist. The biggest thing on my list – skydiving – was checked off a couple of years ago. I would also like to write and illustrate a children’s book and whittle something.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?
Alyssa: The Packers!

What’s your secret talent?
Alyssa: I pick up random hobbies. Things like learning how to do special effects makeup, creating stained glass, snowshoeing, etching glass, and many more over the years. It’s why my small apartment is very cluttered.

Meet Rachel Larson, Audit & Compliance Officer at Merchants

Rachel, pictured with her husband, Charlie and children, Greta and Charles

Rachel, pictured with her husband, Chuck and children, Greta and Charlie

How long have you been with Merchants?
Rachel: I started in the Bookkeeping area in 1999. Then, in 2000, I moved to the ACH/Wire department. From there I worked in the Internal Audit Department in 2004 and eventually the Audit/Compliance Department in 2005, where I still am today.

What do you enjoy about coming to work every day?
Rachel: The challenge and the people. My job is not monotonous; every day it’s something different. Banking industry regulations are evolving and complicated, and it’s challenging to stay up on top of everything, but it’s an attainable goal. Plus, I truly enjoy all of my co-workers.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?
Rachel: How to do a projected three-month budget and stick to it. Really.

What’s one thing on your bucket list?
Rachel: To go to Denali National Park in Alaska with my husband and two kids. We love the outdoors…camping, fishing, you name it.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?
Rachel: My Kindle, which is in a green protective case. I love to read…I read two books a week.

What’s your secret talent?
Rachel: Proofreading. I proofread articles, I proofread signs…I have no idea why. It must be the auditor in me.

Mark Muck Joins Merchants Bank in Rochester as a Mortgage Lender

mortgage loans, home loans

Mark Muck, Mortgage Lender

Mark Muck has joined Merchants Bank as a mortgage lender, according to Merchants Bank in Rochester President John Doyle. Muck is transferring from the Merchants Bank location in Rosemount to fill the position at the Merchants Bank Green Meadows location.

“We’re excited to have Mark join our team. He has a complete understanding of the mortgage process and how to meet the needs of our customers,” Doyle said. “Mark’s experience with the Merchants organization is a bonus for our customers in that he’ll be able to share the full range and benefits of our products from day one.”

Muck has been with the Merchants organization since 2012 and has nearly 25 years in the mortgage industry, including 15 years owning his own company. He said he is especially excited about the products Merchants has to address the upcoming expansion and residential construction in the Rochester market.

“I believe our construction loan product is the best you’ll find. As Rochester continues to grow, I look forward to sharing it and our other mortgage loan solutions with members of the community,” Muck said.

Connie Fort Promoted to Vice President of Consumer Loans at Merchants Bank

personal loans

Connie Fort, Vice President of Consumer Loans

Connie Fort has been promoted to Vice President of Consumer Loans at Merchants Bank, according to Andrea Lisowski, Vice President and Manager of the Consumer Loan department.

“Connie has consistently been the top producer in Consumer Loans and does an exceptional job sharing other bank products with her customers, making sure all of their banking needs are met.” Lisowski said, noting that Fort continues in her role as the Assistant Manager of the Consumer Loan department.

Fort has been with the Merchants organization since 1989 and has worked in the Consumer Loan department since 2003. She has been Assistant Manager of the department since 2010.

“It’s a privilege to help our customers with their loan needs,” Fort said. “I am lucky to have people come back to me when they have a new need, and I am thankful they feel satisfied with the service I’ve provided so they then recommend me to their friends and family.”

In addition to being active in the community, Fort also presents information to students at Winona State University and high schools throughout the area, educating those students about credit, the importance of good credit and how to build credit.

“Connie’s dedication and passion to be extraordinary are very visible to her co-workers and her customers,” Lisowski said.

Loans are subject to credit approval.

Congratulate New and Promoted Staff

At Merchants Bank, we are happy to welcome new employees and celebrate new positions filled by current staff. These frontline employees are all looking forward to serving you. Take a moment to congratulate them.

AhlmanJoe Joe Ahlman has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Winona. Joe is currently enrolled at Winona State University majoring in Finance. He enjoys being active playing any kind of sport. His favorite season is winter and he is a Pittsburg Steelers fan. Joe previously worked at In*Tech and Cabela’s.
 DanielsonSarah Sarah Danielson has joined Merchants Bank as a Commercial Banker/VP in La Crescent. Sarah has 21 years of banking experience in her previous role as AVP/Business Banker at Coulee Bank. She also previously worked at Premier Business Services and Associated Bank. Sarah and her husband, Paul are life-long residents of La Crescent and she is looking forward to serving her hometown. In addition to banking, Sarah and her husband own Golf Headquarters in Onalaska, WI. They have four children; 12 year old triplets and a 6 year old.
Dana Dobrunz has been promoted to Personal Banker at Merchants Bank in La Crescent. She will be responsible for serving customers’ personal loan and deposit needs. Dana has been with Merchants Bank in La Crescent since 1993, where she has been a long-time Customer Service Representative.
 HahnCarla Carla Hahn has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Caledonia. Carla previously worked as a Pharmacy Technician at Degen Berglund Pharmacy and as an Office Manager at General Lea Manor. Carla and her husband, Charles have been married for 25 years and have four daughters and two grandchildren. She enjoys cooking, reading, and walking.
 LeahlyTeressa Teressa Leahy has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Caledonia. Teressa previously was a Teller at Merchants for four years and also previously worked at Fastenal in Accounts Receivable. Teressa is in school pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Business.
 RandallBecky Becky Randall has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Caledonia. She previously worked at Festival Foods as a Cashier. Becky, her husband, Dusty and their two children moved to Caledonia in 2013. Becky went to school and graduated with a Veterinary Technology degree. She worked in jewelry sales and management and then traded in her career for motherhood. In her free time she enjoys hiking, fishing, biking and volunteering at family movie night and the library.
 SillKim Kim Sill has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Hastings. Kim also is currently working at St. Philip’s Early Learning Center as a Director and previously worked for Vermillion Bank as a Teller/Night Operator. Kim is a “soccer” mom. Her son, Holden loves the sport and is a senior at Hastings High School. Kim’s husband, James, is a teacher. Kim enjoys scrap booking, reading mystery books and playing tennis.
 ZehrLori Lori Zehr has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Winona. Lori recently returned from China after living there for four years. She is married and has two teenagers and her family is now resettling in Winona. In her free time Lori likes to read, go for walks, and visit with friends from China (through We-Chat). She is very happy to be back at Merchants where she worked as a Teller more than 15 years ago!



Meet Dave Engstler, Consumer Banker at Merchants Bank

Dave Engstler

Dave Engstler, Consumer Banker

How long have you been with Merchants?
Dave: 13 plus years. In that time, I’ve always been a Lender with Merchants and always in our Rochester Green Meadows office.

What is your top banking tip?
Dave: Live within your means.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?
Dave: Basically, save first.

If you won the Powerball (currently estimated at $194 million) what’s the first thing you would do?
Dave: I would make sure my ten year old son had enough money for college.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?
Dave: I really like pine trees. In Northern Minnesota, it’s pine trees and water. I love that part of the state…just smell and the fresh air.

Meet Chris Smith, Consumer Banker at Merchants Bank

Chris Smith and her family

Chris (seated on left) and Her Family

How long have you been with Merchants?
Chris: In November, I’ll have my 25 year anniversary with Merchants. I actually started as a Receptionist in our Downtown Winona location. From there, I helped in Safe Deposit and Bond area and then I went into Deposit Account Services, where I worked for about 10 years. Eventually, I transferred to the Personal Banking area as a Consumer Lender and came to our Onalaska branch when we opened here in 2004.

What is your top banking tip?
Chris: There are so many fraudsters out there. When it comes to your bank accounts, it’s important to do research and understand how the financial institution protects you and your information. For example, what I like about our credit card is the fact that you can call our employees directly if you have questions about your account. The people you talk to about your credit card are local. You’re not calling across the country.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?
Chris: A penny saved is a penny earned.

If you won the Powerball what’s the first thing you would do?
Chris: I would buy a house in a southern state with a warm climate so I could enjoy the summer weather up here and the warm winters down south. I think winters here are too long. Ha!

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?
Chris: The grass and trees. I love the outdoors, especially in the Spring and Summer weather.