10 Days of Giving Co-Chairs Announced

10DaysChairs

Mark Metzler and Jennifer Welch have been named co-chairs for this year’s “10 Days of Giving.”

The “10 Days of Giving” runs from December 1-10, with Merchants Bank employees helping the community collect food to benefit the food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services and the Southeastern Minnesota Rural Education & Resource Center in St. Charles.

“We hope the community will respond again to the great need,” Welch said. “We are amazed each year by how much people give to those who need our help.”

Last year, the “10 Days of Giving” set a record by collecting more than 280,000 pounds of food, putting the 25-year total at 2,377,227 pounds. Two pounds of food are calculated for each dollar brought in, although the reality shows that monetary donations often have a greater impact.

“Every year we are amazed at the generosity of the people in our area,” Metzler said.

In Winona in 2013 Winona Volunteer Services had 906 households using the food shelf each month, with another 93 households per month use the emergency food shelf. In total, an average of just over 37,255 pounds of food was distributed each month in 2013.

As in the past, Merchants will be collecting at its locations as well as schools and businesses around the area. For questions, please call Metzler at 494-0524 or Welch at 457-1108. The “10 Days of Giving” will officially kick off with a press conference at 10 a.m., December 1 at Merchants Bank in downtown Winona.

Help to Make the “10 Days of Giving” a Success

10DaysofGivingEvents

From December 1-10, the “10 Days of Giving” food drive and other events will be held at a number of Merchants Bank locations, including Winona, St. Charles, Onalaska, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls and Red Wing.

The “10 Days of Giving” started in Winona and is now entering its 26th year. To date 2,377,227 pounds of food have been collected through monetary donations and the donations of non-perishable food items to help make sure no one in Winona County goes hungry. Last year, a record of more than 280,000 pounds of food was collected for Winona Volunteer Services, where the need is still great:

  • In 2013, 23,140 individuals were served at the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services, and another 2,461 individuals were served with emergency food.
  • An average of 906 households were served each month.
  • An average of 93 households used the Emergency Food Shelf services each month in 2013. 
  • An average of 37,255 pounds of food was given out through food shelf programs monthly.

Opportunities to Give

Winona – You can drop off money or food at Merchants Bank in Winona, Goodview or Lakeside between December 1-10. You can mail a donation to Merchants Bank, 102 East Third Street, Winona, MN 55987, attn: “10 Days of Giving.” You can make a donation online by going directly to the Winona Volunteer Services website. Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name. You can also bring donations to the Holiday Train held at 4 p.m., December 9, Amtrak Station.

St. Charles – St. Charles is holding its “10 Days of Giving” December 1-10 to benefit the Southeastern Minnesota Resource Center. Please bring cash or food donations to Merchants Bank in St. Charles.

Onalaska – Onalaska employees will again be hosting the La Crosse Rotary Lights Event December 2 at Riverside Park in La Crosse, WI. Please bring cash or food donations that night to the event. 

Cottage Grove – Cottage Grove will be holding its “10 Days of Giving” between December 1-10 to benefit the Friends in Need Food Shelf. You can bring cash donations or toiletry items to Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove. You can also bring donations to the Holiday Train held at 5:45 p.m., December 10, south of the Sieben Bridge, in front of the Youth Service Bureau.

Hastings – Hastings will be holding its “10 Days of Giving” between December 1-10 to benefit Hastings Family Service. Bring cash or food donations to Merchants Bank in Hastings. You can also donate at the Holiday Train stop at 8:30 p.m., December 9, at Canadian Pacific Depot, 500 E. Second Street.

Red Wing – Merchants Bank in Red Wing will be hosting a Change Collection, where they will collect the change you donate and then donate that money to benefit local people in need. It’s a great way to empty your pockets and change dishes to help others.

Cannon Falls – Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls will also be hosting a Change Collection during the holiday season at the Bank to benefit local people in need.

Spring Grove – Merchants Bank in Spring Grove will celebrate the “10 Days of Giving” by giving area residents an opportunity to purchase a bag of groceries supplied by Red’s IGA for people in need. Stop in the Bank for more details.

Thank You
We know this is a busy time of year and many organizations have a need. We hope that you will consider the “10 Days of Giving.” Thank you for your consideration.

Use Your Merchants Debit or Credit Card to Swipe Out Hunger

eNews-SwipeOutHunger

By swiping your Merchants Bank debit or credit card you can help maximize the amount of money Merchants Bank gives this year to local food shelves.

What is Swipe Out Hunger?
Swipe Out Hunger is a Merchants Bank initiative to support local food shelves in our communities. Food shelves are nominated by our branches and receive a donation based on the number of votes cast through our Facebook page. The total possible donation will increase by 5 cents each time our customers swipe their Merchants Bank debit or credit cards between November 28 and December 10, to a maximum of $10,000.

This year Merchants goal is to:

  • Give $5,000 to the top vote getting food shelf.
  • Give a percentage of another $5,000 to all other nominated shelves based on their percentage of votes.

In order to achieve both goals, we need to reach 200,000 swipes (purchases made with a Merchants Bank debit or credit card) by our customers between November 28 and December 10.

How can you help?
Between November 28-December 10:

  • Use your debit or credit card to increase the total amount of money Merchants donates.
  • Like the Merchants Bank Facebook page and cast your vote for your favorite local food shelf. You may vote up to three times per day.

Which food shelves are participating?
This year’s nominated food shelves include:

Apple Valley and Rosemount – The Open Door
Caledonia and Spring Grove – SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf
Cannon Falls – Cannon Falls Food Shelf
Cottage Grove – Friends in Need Food Shelf
Hampton – Randolph Community Food Shelf
Hastings – Hastings Family Services
La Crescent – La Crescent Area Food Shelf
Lakeville – 360 Communities
Lanesboro – SEMCAC in Preston
Onalaska – The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse
Red Wing – Red Wing Area Food Shelf
Rushford – SEMCAC in Rushford
St. Charles – Southeast Minnesota Rural Education & Resource Center
Winona – Winona Volunteer Services

Additional details regarding Swipe Out Hunger can be found at our website.

Al Gathje Joins Merchants Bank as a Business Banker

AlGathjeAl Gathje has joined Merchants Bank in Rushford as a Business and Ag Banker. He will help people in the Rushford and Lanesboro area with business and agriculture loans.

“We are excited to have Al on our team at Merchants,” said Ken Graner, President of Merchants Bank in Rushford and Lanesboro. “He lives here, he works here, and he will be an exceptional fit serving the needs of the people in our area.”

Gathje, who lives just outside of Lanesboro, has been working in sales throughout the area for the past 17 years. He has an agriculture related degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. A Stewartville native, he started working on area farms when he was just 13 and has a deep interest in the ag industry.

“I am customer oriented and customer driven. I was attracted to Merchants because of its customer service reputation,” Gathje said. “I look forward to building long-term relationships where together we will be able to see real signs of success as our relationship grows.”

Click here to learn more about business banking at Merchants.

Monster Cookies

BlogRecipe-MonsterCookiesIngredients:
6 eggs
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp Karo syrup
4 tsp baking soda
1/2 lb. butter or margarine
3 cups peanut butter (almost a 28 oz. size jar)
9 cups oatmeal
1 cup M&M candies
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips

Directions:
Cream eggs, sugar and butter. Add vanilla, syrup, soda and peanut butter. Mix well. Stir in oatmeal. Fold in M&Ms and chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.

Cook’s note: I use more M&Ms than the recipe calls for (about 1 1/2 cups).

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

Learn about Quickbooks and more at our November events

eNews-NovemberEvents
Our staff invites you to join them at these great events throughout November. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page for information on these events or pictures from other events you may have missed.
11/6
The Secrets to Understanding Quickbooks and Your Business Finances – Quickbooks Beyond the Basics Part 2: 7:30-9am
Learn how to understand and utilize the income statement at our free business session featuring speakers from JRM and Associates. Session include breakfast.
11/17-11/18
Minnesota CPA Tax Conference: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Stop by and see us at the Merchants Bank booth (#213) for your chance to win Minnesota Wild hockey tickets!

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.