Meet Mary Illetschko, Mortgage Lender at Merchants

Mortgage Banking Merchants BankWhen did you start your banking/lending career?

Mary: I started as a Part Time Teller at a bank while I was going to college and then moved into personal banking shortly afterwards. I started in the mortgage business in 1991 at Old Stone Credit. Eventually, I started my own company and became an independent mortgage broker. I worked for myself for 11 years and really enjoyed it…I kept my business small and work came to me through word of mouth referrals. When the market crashed in 2008, I ended up closing my business and going to work for a small community bank. I came to Merchants in 2011 and really enjoy being a part of this team!

What is your top tip for someone looking to build a home?

Mary: Do your homework and shop for the right builder. A lot of people just look at the price when choosing a builder, however, cheaper isn’t always better! Visit several model homes in your price range and make sure you are comfortable with the builder before signing a contract. You should also go into the process pre-approved for your construction financing so you know exactly what you can afford. Knowledge is power when you’re buying or building a home.

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

Mary: My dad retired from a career in banking after 40+ years, therefore my parents are very conservative. They instilled in me the importance of saving for the future, but also having fun while living within your means.

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

Mary: I would catch the next flight to St. John’s, rent a villa on the beach and then make a call to my financial planner and attorney.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Mary: Green grass on a golf course! I enjoy golf not only for the sport, but for the beauty and incredible views that can be found on various courses. I play on a nine hole women’s league in Woodbury and try to play at least one 18 hole round on the weekend.

Picture your dream house. What’s your favorite room and why?

Mary: I would have a large great room. It would be equipped with a wet bar, pool table and a buck hunter game. In addition, I would have a large screen TV where I could enjoy Minnesota Viking and Wild games!

Contact Mary today to get start the application process for your home building or buying project. To find current mortgage rates and apply online, visit our website.

Loans are subject to credit approval.

First-Time Homebuyer? Mortgage Pre-Approval is the First Step

MidwestHouse

Where is your dream home? What does it look like? It would be a shame if when you found it, someone else’s offer was accepted before yours because you didn’t have mortgage pre-approval. With mortgage pre-approval you can:

  • Be confident when making an offer on your first home
  • Know how much money you can borrow
  • Show home sellers and realtors that you are serious about making and offer and ready to move forward today
  • Potentially be selected over other home seekers who make an offer who haven’t been pre-approved

Apply for Pre-Approval Now Schedule an appointment with one of our experience mortgage lenders, or choose a lender and start the process by applying online.

Start Saving for Your Down Payment According to RealtorMag, it can take an average of 12 and half years for first-time homebuyers to save a 20% down payment for a house.* You can start saving more each day with a Home Buyer’s Certificate of Deposit.** This CD is a smart way to put away money for the future:

  • Interest compounds quarterly, and the CD is renewable every 12 months.
  • Higher rate than a normal 12-month CD.
  • Early withdrawal penalties are waived if the money is used to purchase a residential property financed by Merchants Bank.
  • Start with a $100 minimum deposit and then continue with a minimum deposit of $100 per month.

Click here to start the process for opening your Home Buyer’s CD today.

Loans are subject to credit approval.
*http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/11/07/20-down-payment-takes-12-years-saving
**12 Month Home Buyer’s CD requires a $100 minimum opening deposit and a $100 minimum monthly deposit. Additional deposits may be made at any time. Withdrawals prior to maturity will not be subject to penalty if the funds are used to purchase a primary residence that is financed through Merchants Bank, unless funds are withdrawn within 6 days after initial deposit. In this case there is a minimum penalty of 7 days interest. If funds are withdrawn prior to maturity for any other reason a penalty of 180 days interest will be assessed. When funds are withdrawn, either prior to or at maturity, the entire balance must be withdrawn. Partial withdrawals will not be allowed. Mortgage loan is subject to credit approval.

Meet Ann Vanderloo, Mortgage Lender at Merchants

Ann Vanderloo, Mortgage Lender

Ann Vanderloo, Mortgage Lender

When did you start your lending career?

Ann: 25 years ago at a company called Old Stone Credit. From there, I moved to First Union and then to Anchor Bank. I’m proud to say I’ve been in community banking for 18 years and six of those years have been with Merchants.

What is your top tip for someone looking to build a home?

Ann: Do your homework and shop for a good builder, your local Builders Association or a home tour is a good place to start. You also want to make sure you familiarize yourself with the whole construction process…it’s much different from buying a house. It’s important to know before you get too far if building as house is for you.

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

Ann: Save. Save. Save. My parents were very conservative people. They taught me to spend my money wisely and keep a log of where my money is going.

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

Ann: I would go see a financial planner and an attorney. After that, I would take vacation. I love to travel.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Ann: Trees and plants. We actually inherited a very large garden with our current home. It’s mostly flowers, but I enjoy keeping it up.

Picture your dream house. What’s your favorite room and why?

Ann: Just big, big kitchen. We spend so much time in the kitchen and that seems to attract your audience when you have people over. But, I would also love a three season porch.

Contact Ann today to get start the application process for your home building or buying project. To find current mortgage rates and apply online, visit our website.

Subject to credit approval.

Strong Performance Continued in 2014

BlogLinkImage-RodNelsonMerchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) continued its history of strong performance with $12,349,685 in net income in 2014, according to Merchants Financial Group, Inc. President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson.

It is MFGI’s second highest year in terms of performance, less than $100,000 behind the record year of 2012, when net income was $12,439,492. MFGI has a history of consistent performance. In 2013, MFGI reported net income of $11,612,049.

“Our performance results from the team effort of our talented staff across all of our locations,” Nelson said. “We are pleased with our earnings, which were more than 15 percent over our plan, and we also anticipate continued growth.”

One of the key drivers in the 2014 performance was continued commercial loan growth, which was up 13.97% over 2013. Credit quality was again very strong. Total loan balances increased to $1,107.0 billion, up from $972.3 million in 2013. Total deposits increased to $1,207.0 billion, up from 1,128.8 billion in 2013. Total equity increased to $131.1 million, up from $116.0 million in 2013. The asset size of the Merchants organization also increased to $1,522.6 billion, up from $1,366.0 billion in 2013.

“We are pleased to share these numbers with our shareholders and customers. The numbers show we are well-positioned for continued success,” Nelson said. “We are especially proud of the long-term relationships our employees have built with our customers, helping those customers reach their business and personal financial goals.”

Easy Chicken Divan

BlogRecipe-ChickenDivan

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Rice-A-Roni rice pilaf
  • 1 package Knorr’s Bearnaise sauce
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 pound asparagus spears

 

Directions:

Season chicken breasts to taste and saute in olive oil. While chicken is cooking, prepare rice and sauce according to package directions. Heat asparagus spears in microwave. Spoon 1/2 of the rice onto a plate, place 1/2 of the asparagus spears on top of rice, top with one chicken breast and ladle sauce overall. Serve immediately.

 

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

Meet Jeanne Struckman, Mortgage Lender at Merchants

Jeanne Struckmann, Mortgage Lender

Jeanne Struckmann, Mortgage Lender

When did you start your banking career?

Jeanne: I started as a Part Time Teller at Home Federal. From there I became a Full Time Teller, then a Personal Banker, then I helped with second mortgages and finally a Mortgage Lender. I had a great mentor that helped me along the way. This year, I’ll have been with Merchants as a Mortgage Lender for nine years.

What is your top tip for someone looking to build a home?

Jeanne: Get educated. Sit down and take the time to discuss options with your lender. Everyone’s situation is a different and it’s good to talk to an expert up front.

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

Jeanne: You whine if you have it, you whine if you don’t.

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

Jeanne: I would call a banker.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Jeanne: My golf cart. I love riding around in it with my Yorkshire terrier, Ozzy. We bring the golf cart to our permanent camp site in Houston County.

Picture your dream house. What’s your favorite room and why?

Jeanne: A four season porch…even us extroverts need some down time. We’re actually in the process of putting one on ourselves right now. I’m looking forward to sitting out there with my dog, watching life go by.

Contact Jeanne today to get start the application process for your home building or buying project. To find current mortgage rates and apply online, visit our website.

Home Construction Loans: The Basics

Construction loans at Merchants Bank

Have you always dreamed of building your own home, but you aren’t sure where to start? Follow this easy guide to learn the basics of construction loans.

What is a construction loan?
A construction loan is a loan used to pay for the cost of building a new home. When construction on your house is complete, you’ll need to obtain a new loan to pay off the construction costs. At Merchants, we offer construction to permanent financing, which allows customers to borrow for the construction phase and modify that loan to allow them to pay off the construction costs in one simple process.

How does it work?
For qualified applicants, Merchants requires a minimum down payment of 5% if the purchase price is under $417,000. If the purchase price exceeds $417,000, a down payment of 10% is required. With a 5% down payment, you will have a single loan with mortgage insurance at 95%.*

Once you have obtained financing for your construction loan, the builder will typically take draws (payments) throughout the construction phase. During the construction process, you will only be charged monthly interest payments on the amount of the loan advanced.

How do I apply?
Apply online at www.merchantsbank.com or visit your local Merchants Bank to speak to a mortgage lender. After reviewing your application and other information, you will be notified if you’ve been preapproved for both a construction and permanent loan.*

Click here to read our complete guide for successful construction or remodel through the construction loan process, which covers:

  • What information is needed upon application
  • Bids, draws and cost overruns
  • Appraisal value
  • And much more

*Subject to credit approval.
Maximum financing is the highest loan-to-value which varies based on the loan product