Five Common Online Banking Mistakes

7-14 OnlineMany will argue that banking online has been the best invention since sliced bread. And there’s no doubt about that: no more statements and papers — everything is on your computer or mobile device, right at your fingertips.

But while banking online is certainly a feat that will make your life easier, there are some things that people do without even realizing it can be hazardous to your account safety. For your own security and protection, avoid these top online banking mistakes:

1. Don’t use an easy-to-guess password – You may be surprised at how many people don’t use original passwords, and how dangerous it can be. In an analysis of 32 million passwords done by Imperva, an Internet and data security company, found the top 10 passwords are: 123456, 12345, 123456789, Password, iloveyou, princess, rockyou, 1234567, 12345678 and abc123. These give hackers an easy in to your account. If you’re using one of these or something similar, consider changing it. Note that the best passwords are ones that use both letters and numerals and involve both lowercase and uppercase characters. Also, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.

2. Don’t use public Wi-Fi – When it comes to online banking, accessing community Wi-Fi is a no-no. Why?

“People generally don’t bother to check out the security characteristics of public networks before logging on, plus wireless transmissions can be intercepted by nearby Bluetooth-type devices,” says Richard Barrington, a spokesman for MoneyRates.com. That includes public libraries, too.

“The PCs [at libraries] are subject to viruses and spyware that you have no control over,” explains Robert Sicillano, a consultant for McAfee, an expert on identity theft.

3. Don’t dismiss anti-virus protection - This kind of software helps detect and protect you from malicious software (malware) and computer viruses. That’s important because “[Common viruses like] trojans and worms can infect your computer and use keystrokes and other tactics to get your bank credentials,” warns Sol Nasisi, chief economist at BestCashCow.com. It’s best if you set up your protection software to automatically update daily. Also, sometimes your financial institution may provide free software, so be sure to ask about it if you’re unsure.

4. Don’t ignore your account - Check your account regularly. That will help ensure nothing suspicious is going on in your checking and savings accounts. Try checking it once a day or week, but at minimum, you should be looking at it once a month. If you see any suspicious activity, report it to your bank immediately.

5. Don’t post password hints on social media – It sounds obvious, but don’t share any super personal information on any of your social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Doing so makes it easy for criminals to use this information and possibly open up an account in your name, or even use it to guess what your password is.

“It’s important to be careful sharing your pet’s name, your children’s names, or the name of the high school you attended, especially if you use this information as account passwords or answers to security questions,” says Lisa Robinson, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo Internet Services Group. “Never share your mother’s maiden name, your Social Security number, your bank account numbers, or your user names or passwords for any account.”

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Bobbi Kasel Promoted

KaselBobbiBobbi Kasel has been promoted to Assistant Vice President/Personal Banking Manager, according to Merchants Bank in Hastings President Bruce Goblirsch.

Kasel started with Merchants in 2004 as a Customer Service Representative, was promoted to Personal Banking Officer in 2005, and became the compliance officer for the Twin Cities Region in 2007.

“Bobbi has done a great job in building our consumer lending business, and she has been instrumental in the growth and development of our bank in Hastings,” Goblirsch said. “Her knowledge of our customers and their financial goals has been an important part of our growth.”

In addition to her other responsibilities, Kasel manages the customer service and teller staff in Hastings.

“It’s a pleasure to serve our customers and meet their financial needs in whatever way we can,” Kasel said. “We have a great team here in Hastings, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Some Faces You Might See

NewtoTeamPhotosJuly

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.

Greg Borcherding has joined Merchants Bank as a Commercial Banker/VP at the Winona-Downtown location. Greg recently moved to the La Crosse area and previously worked at Citizens State Bank and the Bank of Wisconsin Dells for 21 years. He enjoys golfing, ice fishing, biking, participating in triathlons, traveling and community service.

Georgeann Freeman joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Hastings. Georgeann previously worked at Augustana Nursing Home as a Therapeutic Aide and at Marcus Theaters as a Projectionist.  Georgeann is currently attending the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities where she is studying Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance. She recently adopted her beagle, Penny.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and hanging out with her nieces.

Lily French joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Cannon Falls. Lily attends Cannon Falls High School.  She is excited for the opportunity to work at Merchants and is looking forward to getting to know everyone.

Greseth Joins Business Banking Team

GresethLauraLaura Greseth has joined the Business Banking team at Merchants Bank in Winona as an Assistant Vice President and Business Banker, according to Randy Domeyer, Senior Vice President and Senior Lending Officer for the Winona Region.

“Laura is an excellent banker. She has provided outstanding service to business banking and Ag banking customers over the past several years,” Domeyer said. “In addition to her banking skills, she has outstanding personal skills, which her customers have found to be valuable.”

Greseth has been with the Merchants organization since 2004 and was a Senior Credit Analyst for Merchants before joining Merchants Bank in St. Charles as Business Banker in 2009. A graduate of Winona State University, she grew up on a dairy farm in southern Fillmore County.

“My experience in St. Charles will benefit business and Ag customers in the Winona area. I’m excited to be back,” Greseth said. “I look forward to the new opportunities to help businesses meet their goals.”

During her time in St. Charles, Greseth maintained her home in Winona and was actively involved in Steamboat Days as a board member and officer and also volunteered with the Morrie Miller Athletic Foundation. She is looking forward to more community involvement.

Community Picnic in Winona

WINCommunityPicnicMerchants Bank invites you to join your friends and neighbors for a community picnic, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 2, at the Jaycee Pavilion at Lake Park in Winona, according to Merchants Bank Events and Adventures Coordinator Jen Welch, who is coordinating the picnic.

This will be the perfect opportunity to enjoy great food – a brat, a bag of chips, a cookie and something cool to drink. To reserve a meal, community members will need a ticket. Cost of the ticket is just $1 before June 26. From June 26 until July 2, tickets are $3 each. Tickets can be picked up at any local Merchants Bank location.

“We think it’s a wonderful opportunity to get together with people you know, enjoy fantastic food and celebrate Summer as a community,” Welch said. “Our expectation is this will be a great time for everyone involved.”

Children ages 12 and under will have the opportunity to take a turn in a money machine, with the chance to win money or prizes donated by local merchants. A scavenger hunt is also planned as kids and parents make their way from the Jaycee Pavilion to the 8 p.m. Municipal Band concert at the Band Shell.

Greg Borcherding Joins Merchants

BorcherdingGregGreg Borcherding has joined Merchants Bank as Business Banker/Vice President according to Randy Domeyer, Senior Lender and Business Banking Manager.

“Greg is a valuable addition and brings more than 20 years of business lending experience to our team. His familiarity with this region will be an asset to area businesses,” said Domeyer.

Most recently, Borcherding worked with Citizens State Bank in La Crosse and has also spent time in the Wisconsin Dells market. Borcherding has small business and business start-up experience. He is looking forward to contributing to the Winona community.

“I enjoy being involved in the community and appreciate Merchants’ strong partnerships in many Winona community efforts,” Borcherding said.

A native of Platteville, Borcherding is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Additionally, Borcherding is a member of the Lake Delton Lions and the finance committee for the Children’s Museum of La Crosse.

An opportunity to come home

Greg Evans

Winona native Greg Evans became Merchants Bank’s president late last year. After seven years working for Merchants in the Cannon Falls region, Evans is still transitioning back to life in his hometown. Photo credit: Andrew Link, Winona Daily News

Like father, like son.

That might be a good way to describe new Merchants Bank president Greg Evans, but it’s not the only way. Winona native is another. So is Steamboat Days harbormaster, 10 Days of Giving founder and community leader.

For his father, Gary Evans, another native and Winona business and community leader, when he talks about his son, it’s about how he has stepped into his own and the mark he has left on the community.

“When he came back from college he was Gary Evans’ son,” he admitted. “Now that he’s come back from Cannon Falls, I am Greg Evans’ father. I really like that. He’s a chip off the old block.”

Community is important to Greg, who cites Gary and Merchants Financial Group CEO Rod Nelson as mentors and people who have instilled the importance of community in him. Merchants’ philosophy is that a strong community translates into a strong community bank, and Greg is a follower of that philosophy.

“Community engagement isn’t optional,” Greg said. “It’s an expectation. We believe that when the community thrives and prospers, Merchants can only benefit as a result.”

After studying journalism in college and a short tenure as a reporter in Iowa, Greg came back to Winona and joined Merchants Bank in the late 1980s in marketing. One of his first projects at the bank was starting the annual 10 Days of Giving food drive, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last winter and has brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of tons of food for the Winona food shelf.

Nelson said the 10 Days of Giving was a prime example of how Greg leads by example, and called the growth over the years of the program a testament to his passion for the community.

“It’s gone beyond a Merchants’ thing,” Nelson said. “It’s now a Winona thing.”

Greg was involved with a number of community events and organizations during his time in Winona, capped off — literally — with being named Steamboat Days Harbormaster in 2007.

Later that year, he was promoted to be Merchants regional president for the bank’s newly acquired Cannon Falls division, and Greg began to build ties in his new home.

That, of course, meant community involvement. Greg’s wife, Terri, is a leader with the Cannon Falls Education Foundation. Greg got involved with the Cannon Falls Rotary Club and the Goodhue Habitat for Humanity board, among others.

Greg said he never really had a strategy to come back to Winona, but the chips fell in place last year when he was chosen to replace Rod Nelson as bank president. It wasn’t an easy decision after seven years of building a home and community connections, and Greg said he initially thought Cannon Falls might be the last stop in his career path.

“But we saw an opportunity to come home and be close to family,” Greg said. “It’s just an extraordinary opportunity.”

The transition to Winona is smoothing out, as Greg bounced between the two cities as he looked for his replacement for Cannon Falls. His family is still working on selling the old house and getting one in Winona, but in the meantime has moved from a hotel room to apartments near East Lake Winona, which he appreciates for the beautiful view and quick access to the running path.

Evans said the transition won’t really sink in until after he’s unpacked and settled in, but he said one thing didn’t require a transition — falling back in love with his hometown. The Winona community and its beauty is a tremendous draw, and he’s glad to be back, he said.

“A lot of people leave Winona and chose to come back,” he said. “It says so much of the caring nature of this community.”

While Greg and Gary were never strangers during his time in Cannon Falls, the elder Evans is glad to have his son back in town. He’s proud of all his son has accomplished, and said he knows Greg has a deep love for Winona and that commitment to the community and its people shows in his endeavors.

“He sees the good in others and firmly believes you can’t accomplish things in a vacuum,” Gary said. “It’s a wonderful thing when parents can be proud of their children.”

 

 Story by . Reprinted with permission from Winona Daily News.

Memorial Bike Ride Concludes Saturday

The ninth annual Christian Elder Memorial Bike Ride will conclude in the Merchants Bank parking lot, 7300 147th Street W., at 10 a.m. Saturday. More than $37,000 has been raised so far and more is expected. The money raised will set a record.

Merchants Bank in Apple Valley has been the title sponsor and a major contributor since the ride’s inception. Merchants Bank employees and members of the public are expected to meet John Elder and members of his team as they complete their 900 mile ride winding through the scenic landscape of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The 16-day ride is made in the memory of John’s son, Christian, and benefits Kids n’ Kinship, an organization that connects children from 5-16 years old with volunteer mentors.

“This is a wonderful story, and we are proud to be involved from the beginning. John and his team inspire us all and show us how important it is to be role models for young people,” said Lawrence Stovern, Regional President of Merchants Bank in the Twin Cities. “We are humbled and honored to be involved.”

Summer Events

Our staff invites you to join them at these great events throughout the Summer. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page for information on these events or pictures from other events you may have missed.

June 4 – Merchants Bank Night at Spring Grove Music in the Park, 6:30 p.m., Spring Grove.

June 6 – Caledonia Dairy Days Celebration, 12-4:00 p.m., Houston County 4-H will serve treats in the lobby at Merchants Bank in Caledonia.

June 7 - Apple Valley Christian Elder Bike Ride. Welcome Home celebration begins at 10:00 a.m. at Merchants Bank in Apple Valley.

June 8 – Trinona triathlon, Winona.

June 12 – Cannon Falls Dairy Days Celebration, 11 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Goodhue County Dairy Royalty will serve treats in the lobby at Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls.

June 12 – Red Wing Dairy Days Celebration, 12-3:00 p.m., Goodhue County Dairy Royalty will serve treats in the lobby at Merchants Bank in Red Wing.

June 13 – Hampton Dairy Days Celebration.

June 13 – Winona Steamboat Days Kiddie Parade, 10:00 a.m., Lake Park Band Shell, Winona.

June 13 – Spring Grove Dairy Days Celebration, 12-4:00 p.m., Syttende Mai Royalty will serve treats in the lobby at Merchants Bank in Spring Grove.

June 13 – St. Charles Dairy Days Celebration, 11 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Winona County ADA and Dairy Royalty will serve treats from the Little Red Barn.

June 15 – Winona Steamboat Days Grand Parade, 12:31 p.m., located on Broadway in Winona.

June 15 – Happy Father’s Day!

June 21 – Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest Parade, 10:30 a.m., located at the corner of 80th and Jamaica Streets.

June 27 – Merchants Bank Night at Cannon Falls Bears Game, 7:30 p.m., 100 North 7th Street in Cannon Falls. Merchants Bank will provide free tickets to the game and enter for a chance to win a pair Twins tickets.

June 28 – Lewiston Heartland Days Parade, 6:30 p.m., located on Main Street in Lewiston.

June 21 – Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest Parade, 10:30 a.m. located at the corner of 80th and Jamaica Streets.

June 27 – Merchants Bank Night at Cannon Falls Bears Game, 7:30 p.m., 100 North 7th Street in Cannon Falls. Merchants Bank will provide free tickets to the game and enter for a chance to win a pair Twins tickets.

June 28 – Lewiston Heartland Days Parade, 6:30 p.m. located on Main Street in Lewiston.

 

Surcharge Free ATM Options

SurchargeFreeATMsLooking to use your Merchants Bank Debit card free of charge to obtain cash or check account balances? Try these:

  • Merchants Bank owned ATMs
  • Fee Free cash at any one of more than 400 Kwik Trip or Kwik Star locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin or Iowa.
  • MoneyPass ATMS where you won’t be assessed a surcharge fee by the bank at MoneyPass ATMs. A foreign surcharge fee may still apply. You can find a MoneyPass location, or access locations through an iPhone or Android app, by starting here.

Plus, remember you can also get cash back when using your Merchants Bank Debit Card at most point of sale locations