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.”

For this and other Merchants Bank news: http://bit.ly/Q0Qmcm

Good for the Community…

When Pete Woodworth’s grandfather’s plane landed in Winona on a Sunday in 1943 at the then municipal airport, Walker Woodworth was met by three people, including Winona’s mayor, and the President of Merchants National Bank, J.R. Chappel.

By the time Woodworth left Winona the next day, Winona had a new business, the Winona Knitting Mills, and Merchants Bank had started a long-term relationship with the Woodworth family.

The relationship has grown. Walker’s son and Pete’s father, Les, was on the Merchants Bank Board of Directors for more than 20 years, and Pete has been a member of the Merchants Bank Board of Directors and the Merchants Financial Group Board of Directors since 1988.

By the Fall of 1943, the Winona Knitting Mills was up and running, and it ran for 57 years in the same location at 902 E. 2nd Street, expanding along the way. The building went from three stories and 8,000 square feet to more than six buildings and 175,000 square feet. By 1995 the company had grown to be the third largest men’s sweater manufacturer in the United States.

By late 1995, the Winona Knitting Mills merged with Hampshire Group Limited, the largest woman’s sweater manufacturer in the USA, and by 2002, Pete and his wife Joyce, had sold their interests, but there still was the issue of what to do with the property. Pete and Joyce converted the property into a professional business campus.

“We took the chance and developed it into a community resource,” Pete said.

The campus, which includes the main building that Walker first purchased, a warehouse, and four satellite buildings on eight acres, now has more than 40 tenants. The tenants are varied. The terms given the businesses are as varied as the types of businesses themselves, including graduated rates over time and phased in rental payments.

“We’re trying to make it easier for them to get up and running so the businesses are viable for the long-term,” Pete said. “It’s pragmatic. It’s good for them. It’s good for our family. It’s good for the community, and it’s good for Merchants Bank because many of these businesses are borrowing from the bank, and we’re borrowing from the bank.”

In 2004, Pete and Joyce gave WKM Properties to their children Nathan, Jacob and Lindsay. In 2009 Nathan took over running the business, which also includes a 7000 square foot building in downtown Winona, a 10,000 square foot building in Goodview and a 40,000 square foot building in Rochester.

“I’ve always liked tweaking and strengthening things, and this has been very satisfying,” Pete said. “We thought of it as planting something that would grow, something we could pass on to benefit Merchants Bank, the community and our family.”

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Small Business Administration

SBARefreshENA Business Banker from Merchants Bank will provide specialized support for your specific business financing request. Our numerous business loan program options are designed to meet the specific needs of your business, from a business line of credit to fleet financing.

We are a SBA Preferred Lender, which means we can help qualified applicants right when they need us. We’ll listen and help you with the business loan you need. It’s that simple. Contact a Business Banker today to schedule a free, no obligation review of your business. Work with someone who cares about your business as much as you do. At Merchants Bank, we care about you and what’s right for your business. Loans are subject to credit approval.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota Receives $426 in Merchants Bank’s 10 for 10 Celebration

10 for 10 Ronald McDonald House

Pictured are Steve Christiansen, Merchants Bank, Kristina Schoh of Ronald McDonald House, and Shawn Sackman of Merchants Bank.

ONALASKA, WIS. – Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota was the July recipient of Merchants Bank in Onalaska’s 10 for 10 program, receiving a check for $426 for contributions made in July.

The organization directly improves the health and well-being of children by providing them a bridge to accessible health care.

“It’s great to see the work that Ronald McDonald House of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota does in this area and how it touches the lives of people that we all know throughout the region,” said Steve Christiansen, President of Merchants Bank in Onalaska.

The 10 for 10 celebration features a different area nonprofit each month. Merchants grants the nonprofit $10 a day for each day of the month and matches up to another $10 a day that the nonprofit receives in donations over the month. Merchants granted $300 for June and matched another $63 dropped off at the Bank for the benefit of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota.

The August nonprofit featured is the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater La Crosse Area.