Liz Diggins Joins Merchants Bank in Red Wing as a Commercial Banker

Liz Diggins, Commercial Banker

Liz Diggins, Commercial Banker

Liz Diggins has joined Merchants Bank in Red Wing as a Commercial Banker, according to Brian Hokanson, Senior Vice President and Senior Lender for Merchants Bank.

Diggins is well known in the Red Wing area, spending the past 12 years working with commercial and agricultural loans and loan customers at Associated Bank in Red Wing.

“Liz is a tremendous communicator, who enjoys working with clients and helping them to achieve success,” Hokanson said. “We are fortunate she has chosen Merchants Bank, and we look forward to working with her as she utilizes her skills helping others reach their goals.”

A Red Wing native, Diggins is currently the treasurer for the United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties. She also serves as treasurer for the Wells Creek Riders Snowmobile Club.

“I am thrilled to be working with Merchants Bank because of its commitment to the community,” Diggins said. “Helping Red Wing to continue to grow is important to me, and there’s no better place to make that commitment to the future than at Merchants Bank.”

In addition to graduating from Red Wing Central High School, Diggins has an undergraduate degree in business management from the College of Saint Benedict and a graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

John Piscitiello Joins Merchants Bank in Apple Valley as a Commercial Banker

John Piscitiello, Vice President and Commercial Banker

John Piscitiello, Vice President and Commercial Banker

John Piscitiello has joined Merchants Bank in Apple Valley as a Vice President and Commercial Banker, according to Merchants Bank Regional President Lawrence Stovern.

“John’s experience with commercial lending and his experience in the Twin Cities market will allow him to assess and meet the needs of his customers,” Stovern said. “We look forward to John growing with us as we continue to expand our reach in the Twin Cities.”

Piscitiello has been in the banking industry the past 16 years, most recently with Associated Bank. He has also worked with the Safire Group, Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, and he started his career working in construction lending for his own company.

Piscitiello is a Winona native and graduate of Saint Mary’s University in Winona. Merchants Bank was founded in Winona.

“I grew up with Merchants Bank and know that it is an incredible organization and an exceptional lender. It’s also one of the best kept secrets in banking in the Twin Cities. That’s starting to change, and I look forward to introducing more business owners and key decision makers in the Twin Cities to Merchants Bank,” Piscitiello said.

Visit our website to learn more about business loans, lines of credit and more. Subject to credit approval.

New Staff Here to Help You

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.

LouwagieJimJim Louwagie has joined Merchants Bank as a Commercial Banker in Lakeville. Jim has had an extensive background in banking, including working for Bremer, Wells Fargo and Signal Bank. In addition, Jim was a Bank President/Team Lead for Anchor Bank for six years. Most recently, Jim was the Chief Operating Officer for BDS Laundry Services. Jim is happy to be back in banking and at Merchants Bank.

 

MonfreJasonJason Monfre has joined Merchants Bank as a Mortgage Lender in Rochester. Jason was recently a full-time student and worked at the Charter House at the Mayo Clinic. He also previously worked at America One Finance as a Branch Manager/Owner and at Ameriquest Mortgage as an Account Executive. Jason loves sports (basketball, football, and baseball) and played baseball in college for the Indiana Hoosiers and the Minnesota Gophers. Jason loves to play guitar and sing, especially with his one year old son.  He is originally from Milwaukee, WI and is a big Brewers and Packer fan.

ShannonTriciaTricia Shannon has joined Merchants Bank as a Part-Time Teller in Caledonia. Tricia previously worked at Alco as a Group Manager for ten years. She lives in Caledonia with her five daughters, grandson and four cats. To relax she enjoys crocheting.

Meet Dawn Garms, Mortgage Lender at Merchants

Garms,DawnWhen did you start your banking career?

Dawn: I started as a mortgage Lender with Altra in 2001. I was there for twelve years and then came to Merchants in 2013.

What is your top tip for a first time home-buyer?

Dawn: Get pre-approved first. Pre-approval helps you determine the maximum amount you can spend to purchase a home. You can also go over what to expect for monthly payments, down payments and other mortgage options with a lender at that time. It really gives you a clear picture of what you can afford and how that fits into what you’re comfortable with for your personal monthly budget.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?

Dawn: The best thing they taught me is the importance of knowing your finances. Know what you can handle so that you are comfortable in your monthly budget.

If you won the Powerball, what’s the first thing you would do?

Dawn: I would travel all over Europe for an extended period of time, and explore all of the different countries.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Dawn: The green of fresh trees on a mountain hike.

What’s one lesson you learned when buying your own home?

Dawn: Use a lender that is knowledge so they can guide you through the process. Buying a home should not cause a headache…it should be a smooth, pain-free process.

Subject to credit approval. Contact Dawn today to get start the application process for mortgage pre-approval. To find current mortgage rates and apply online, visit our website.

Meet Tom Stahl, Senior Consumer Banker at Merchants

StahlTomWhen did you start your banking career?

Tom: I’ve been in lending with Merchants Bank since December 1988. I started at the Winona location and worked there for two years. Then I moved to La Crescent in January of 1991 and have been here ever since.

What one piece of advice would you give someone looking to apply for a HELOC?

Tom: Do your homework. A HELOC is basically a big credit card with a lot better rate, but the rate can change and some customers don’t understand that. It’s also good to have a firm dollar amount that you’re going to need for your home improvements.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?

Tom: Simply, don’t spend what you don’t have. Don’t overextend yourself. Borrow responsibly.

If you won the Powerball what’s the first thing you would do?

Tom: I’d set a charitable foundation up. I know that sounds kind of funny, but it’s truly what I’d do. It would be a nice opportunity to give back.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Tom: The grass at Target Field. I love baseball.

If you could start a home remodeling project right now, what would it be and why?

Tom: A sunroom….it would be somewhere to relax.

Contact Tom today to start the application process for your Home Equity Line of Credit. For more information on HELOC options at Merchants Bank, visit our website.

Meet Connie Fort, Assistant Manager of Consumer Loans at Merchants

Connie and her husband, Tim

Connie and her husband, Tim, at the Grand Canyon

When did you start your banking career?

Connie: Twenty-six years ago I started at Merchants in Winona as a Commercial Lending Assistant. I knew that I wanted to get into lending, so I switched and became a Customer Service Representative. I stayed in Customer Service for seven years and then became a Credit Analyst. During that time, I learned that I was the kind of person who wanted to be in front of customers. A few years later, the Consumer Lender position opened up and I’ve been here for ten years now. Before Merchants, I worked at a brewery in La Crosse…can you believe that?

What one piece of advice would you give someone looking to apply for a HELOC?

Connie: Make sure to check your credit rating. There are a few websites that allow you to download a free credit report and you can bring in the report and we can go through it together. It’s also helpful if you come with an idea of how much you want to borrow and then together we can determine how much equity you have in your home.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?

Connie: To save, save, save. You do not buy anything until have saved for it. My parents were very frugal with their money and they passed that on to me and my two sisters.

If you won the Powerball what’s the first thing you would do?

Connie: I would buy a cabin up north. We love to be outdoors…just canoeing or spending time on the lake. It’s just an awesome way to relax and forget about everything.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Connie: When I think of green, I think of Spring and the pretty trees and blooming flowers.

If you could start a home remodeling project right now, what would it be and why?

Connie: I want to change my bedroom because we don’t have a master bath. We’ve found out that when we have family visiting and we have to share the same bathroom it can become difficult.

Contact Connie today to start the application process for your Home Equity Line of Credit. For more information on HELOC options at Merchants Bank, visit our website.

New Staff Here to Help You

NewtoTeamPhotos4-15

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.

Alyssa Childs has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Red Wing. She is currently attending Red Wing High School. Her favorite place to be is by the ocean. She has been able to travel there a lot with her family. She also enjoys spending time outdoors in the summer. Alyssa has two younger brothers and one older sister.

Jennifer Easton has joined Merchants Bank as a Lead Teller in Cottage Grove. Jennifer previously worked at Prudential Insurance as a Death Claims Specialist and at TCF Bank as an Assistant Branch Manager. Jennifer has an 11 year old son and enjoys reading, going to the gym, camping and hosting the neighborhood kids on the weekends.

Heidi Kramer has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Onalaska. Heidi previously worked at Kmart in their Cash Office and at Altra Federal Credit Union as a Teller. Heidi is currently attending at Western Tech, where she is studying for her Associates Degree in Finance. After graduation, she also hopes work towards a Bachelors Degree.

Kayla Lentz has joined Merchants Bank as a Part-Time Teller in Red Wing. Kayla also works at Hy-Vee as a Customer Service Representative. Kayla enjoys being outside where she can hike, swim and play volleyball. She loves all different kinds of animals and wildlife.  She has four dogs that greet her lovingly when she gets home.