Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Increases Shareholder Dividend by Five Cents Per Share; Success Continues Through First Three Quarters of 2014

Rod Nelson, President & CEO

Rod Nelson, President/CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) reported net income of $9,749,529 through the first three quarters of 2014. The figure is $281,644 ahead of last year’s net income and ahead of MFGI’s plan. Based on the performance, the MFGI Board of Directors voted to increase the shareholder semiannual dividend by five cents to 50 cents per share, according to MFGI President & CEO Rod Nelson.

“I am pleased that we can continue to reward our shareholders for their confidence and continue to bring value to those shareholders, our customers and our employees,” Nelson said. The dividend will be paid to shareholders of record as of November 21, 2014. “I do expect that we will finish the year on a positive note.”

Nelson said the main drivers for the continued success are the work of business bankers across all locations in securing new business, maintaining loan credit quality and the success of the mortgage area.

MFGI has a strong correspondent mortgage network that supports smaller banks across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota and Nebraska by helping those banks provide mortgages to their customers. That work, coupled with the efforts of the mortgage lenders at Merchants Bank locations, has continued to have a positive impact on the organization.

“The reason for our success is our people and their ability to create and enhance relationships with customers in all our markets. We continuously strive to add the very best people to our team and are focused on continued talent enrichment as we grow,” Nelson said.

Crock Pot Easy Corn

BlogRecipe-CrockPotCorn

Ingredients:
3 – 1 lb. bags frozen corn
4 Tbsp sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1 ½ sticks butter
2 to 3 Tbsp water

Directions:
Put all ingredients in crock pot. (I layer them, some corn, little sugar, 1/3 cream cheese, ½ stick butter, and repeat twice more.) Stir occasionally. Cook on low for 4 hours.
Cook’s note: This rich, creamy corn is a real crowd pleaser at Christmas, Thanksgiving and other family or friend gatherings. Easy and delicious!

Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

BlogRecipe-PumpkinCheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 3 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • whipped cream

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about 2/3 of the way up the sides of a spring form pan. You don’t want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set it aside until you are ready to fill it.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

Pour the filling into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Top will turn a bit darker at this point. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.

When cheesecake has become room temperature, put it into the refrigerator. When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Use dental floss to make a clean cut. Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream on top. Serves 8.

Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

Pumpkin Dip Recipe

BlogRecipe-PumpkinDip

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Directions:

Mix cream cheese and sugar together and beat until smooth. Add pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger. Beat until well combined. Serve with apple slices and ginger snaps.

Cooks note: Recipe can be cut in half by using a 3 oz. package cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 can pumpkin.

Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

Stop By and Meet Our New Staff Here to Help You

eNews-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.

Kelly Carter has joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Lakeville. Kelly lives with her husband, Jeff and their three beautiful daughters in Hastings. For the past seven years, Kelly has ran a day-care out of their home, which has allowed her to be home to raise their daughters.

Sam Ebner has joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Winona. Sam previously worked at Target. He recently completed his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Metropolitan State University. He is originally from Apple Valley and recently moved here with his fiancé, Jackie.

Paulette Reinhardt has joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Cottage Grove. Paulette previously worked at the Hastings Co-op as a Cashier and is currently attending Dakota County Technical College working towards her Supervisory Management degree. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, Malissa, reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.

 

$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.

In Memory of Pete Roehl, Merchants President 1986-2000

If Merchants Bank could be embodied in a person, it would be Pete Roehl. He was decent, caring, kind, loyal, sincere, dedicated to helping others, committed to always doing the right thing and a leader. As President and CEO of Merchants Bank and Merchants Financial Group from 1986-2000, he oversaw Merchants’ growth from $167 million to $500 million.

When, at the age of 79, his heart stopped beating on August 27 of this year, the Merchants Bank family lost a person who helped shape the culture of the Bank into what it is today – a true community bank where employees take leadership roles in making our communities better places to live, and where those employees take pride in knowing their customers by name.

One of Pete’s many gifts was the ability to make you know you mattered. When he asked how you were, he wanted the real answer – good or bad – because he cared.

Asked about his success a number of years ago by the Winona Daily News, Pete said: “I think my successes stem from a real and sincere caring for people. I like people. If you respect them, they feel that and give it back to you.”

Pete was at Merchants for 33 years in total, beginning in 1968 as a business banker. After his retirement in 2000, he continued to serve on the Board of Directors until he turned 75 and then as a Director Emeritus. His legacy continues in many ways, including through his grandson Ryan Meyer, who works in the Bank’s Operations department.

Our world was better because he was here with us. We will miss him, and we pledge to continue to honor and celebrate his memory every day through our actions.