President & CEO Rodney Nelson to Retire January 2017; Greg Evans to Succeed Nelson


From L-R: Greg Evans and Rod Nelson

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson will retire as of January 31, 2017. Winona Market President and Chief Banking Officer Greg M. Evans will take over the position after Nelson’s retirement, according to Scott Biesanz, Chairman of the MFGI Board of Directors.

Nelson joined the organization in 2000, and will retire after 17 years with the organization, including the past three as MFGI President & CEO. Before serving as President & CEO, Nelson was President of Merchants Bank for the Winona Charter and Executive Vice President for MFGI.

Biesanz noted that in Nelson’s time with Merchants, the organization has experienced significant growth. MFGI had a record year in 2015, posting net income of $13,454,698. Current asset size is $1.654 billion. When Nelson joined the organization in 2000, asset size was $440,288,106. When Nelson took over as MFGI President & CEO at the beginning of 2014, asset size was $1.366 billion. Today, Merchants has 450 employees serving 21 locations in west-central Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota. MFGI stock is currently trading at an all-time high, $48.50, as of Wednesday.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the great team of talented professionals at Merchants. My co-workers have made it their goal to exceed our customers’expectations every day. That has helped our customers flourish, and because of their success, the communities we serve have grown and Merchants has grown. It has been very gratifying to be a part of that,”Nelson said. “I know that Greg will continue to help our organization excel for the benefit of our customers, shareholders and employees, just as he has done in his current role.”

Evans has been with the Merchants organization for 27 years. He served in the Marketing Department from 1989 to 2007, the last five years as Senior Vice President of Marketing. In 2007, he was named Regional President for Hampton, Cannon Falls, and Red Wing when Merchants Bank acquired those locations. In 2013, Evans was named president of the Winona Market and Chief Banking Officer, providing leadership for all Merchants Bank locations.

“I am truly honored that our Board of Directors has provided me with this leadership opportunity, and am humbled by the responsibility that comes with following Rod. He is an exceptional community banker and has been an extraordinary mentor for all of us at Merchants. I share Rod’s passion for community banking and the ongoing pursuit of excellence. We will continue to strive to grow as an independent community Bank and as a leader in contributing to the economic vitality of this Region. We have an awesome team and will continue to focus on taking care of customers. I look forward to my new role,” Evans said.

MFGI owns 21 Merchants Bank locations, including Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

The ownership of Merchants Financial Group is made up of its 450 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Meet Ashley Wagner, Electronic Banking Specialist at Merchants

How long have you been with Merchants?


Ashley and her daughter, Everly

Ashley: I’ve been with Merchants Bank for 2 years.  Prior to working at Merchants, I didn’t have any banking experience. Over the past two years, I have really grown into my Electronic Banking position and enjoy what I do.  Technology is always changing and with that, my job is always changing as well.

What is your top electronic banking tip?

Ashley: Let us know when you’ll be traveling, especially if you’re traveling outside the country. That way we can document your trip and offer you advice on your debit card usage while traveling.

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

Ashley: Try to save when you can, but also have a little fun with your money.

If you won the Powerball (currently estimated at $700 million) what’s the first thing you would buy?

Ashley: I would pay off my student loans, buy a new house and take a trip to Bora Bora.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Ashley: Green Haribo gummy bears.

To meet our entire Electronic Banking team, visit our website.

Pumpkin Spice Latte



  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brewed espresso



  1. Whisk 1/2 cup milk, sugar, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup milk.
  2. Pour milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove pulp. Return milk mixture to saucepan and simmer, whisking, 2 minutes. Add espresso and whisk until foamy, 1 minute.
  3. Enjoy!


Recipe from

Meet Lucas Stangl, Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants Bank

Lucas Stangl, Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants, with his two children in Disneyland.

Lucas Stangl, Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants, with his two children in Disneyland.

When did you start your banking career?

Lucas: I started at Wells Fargo in 2011 as a Teller and then became a Teller Manager. When I came to Merchants, I knew I wanted to work for a bank I believed in and one that is there for the community. Electronic Banking is a great fit for me because I like helping our customers solve problems. Plus, there’s a lot of variety with my job, which I really enjoy.

What is your top electronic banking tip?

Lucas: There are a couple of things that can make using Online Banking easier for our customers.

First, when you’re reviewing your accounts online, make sure check the available balance and not the current balance. The available balance is what you actually have available to spend. Sometimes the difference can be confusing, so make sure you’re looking at the right balance before you make a purchase.

When completing online transfers, review the details of the transfer and click the confirm button. If you don’t click confirm, the transfer won’t go through.

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

Lucas: Don’t impulse buy. Wait a few days and if you still want that particular item, then go buy it.

If you could ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange with anyone, who would it be and why?

Lucas: My kids. Hazen is nine and Ada is six. My wife and I try to teach the importance of experiences and I think that would be a very memorable experience for them.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Lucas: Any golf course. I started golfing when I was five years old and actually worked at a golf course in Pennsylvania for ten years – it was really fun.

For more information on our electronic banking options, visit our website.

Meet Matt Schuldt, President/Commercial & Ag Banker


Matt Schuldt, President/ Commercial & Ag Banker

Get to know Matt and how he assists farmers and Ag businesses as a trusted advisor.

When did you start your banking career?
Matt: I graduated in 2001 from St. Cloud State. After college, I worked with an accounting firm that strictly helped banks. I would work with banks of different sizes to complete directors exams and prepare tax returns.

After gaining that experience, I moved into my first Commercial Banking role in 2010. I joined First Community Bank in Lester Prairie, MN as a VP/Commercial Banker.

In 2014, I was lucky enough to move back to my hometown of Caledonia to work at Merchants Bank as a Commercial/Ag Banker and lead our Caledonia and Spring Grove offices. My family and I are happy to be back here. We have been greeted wonderfully and embraced by the community. We’re looking forward to growing old here together.

What do you like most about your job?
Matt: Working with customers on a day-to-day basis and helping solve their problems. I truly enjoy being one of their go-to, trusted advisors.

As part of Merchants’ commitment to our community, I also get to be involved in many different community organizations. Part of my job is to help make Caledonia and Spring Grove better communities for all of us who live and work here.

What is your message to your customers in the ag industry right now?
Matt: I want my customers to know that we understand the cyclical nature of ag markets and the ag economy as a whole. They are going to have high times and low times. During low times like this, both the Bank and myself as their advisor, are going to work with them and stick behind them. We know there will be better times ahead.

What do you hope your customers say about working with you?
Matt: That I looked out for their best interests at all times. I’m here to help them make decisions and give them options for how to meet future goals…whether that’s getting their farm paid off or helping bring their children into the operation. Our community can’t thrive without their livelihood succeeding, so we’re a team.

How can you help farmers and ag businesses?
Matt: There are so many areas where a Commercial Banker can lend expertise. From succession planning to operating lines of credit, loans and more we have options to fit an individual’s situation. Especially in times like this when the industry is struggling, we know we have to get creative with financing and work through financial obstacles together.

What does community banking mean to you?
Matt: It means that our Bank is your trusted advisor for everything, from financing your business or home to teaching your child about the importance of saving with their first bank account. It means that when you step inside the Bank, I know you on a first-name basis. It means that if you ask me to come out to visit your farm, I can be there in 10 minutes.

Ultimately, as a community bank, we realize that without farmers supporting our local economy, our whole town – and many markets Merchants Bank serves – would struggle. The Bank believes in doing everything it can to keep the community strong and growing.

What You Need to Know: Same Day ACH


A new ruling by the association that governs electronic payments (NACHA) will require all financial institutions to accept and process certain transactions, called ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments, from businesses same-day. This service is also referred to as Same Day ACH.

While there are many components to Same Day ACH, let’s start with the basics.

What is Same Day ACH?
Same Day ACH is an optional payment method for businesses where payments sent “today” may be received and credited “today.” These payments:

  • Can be sent to any bank account in the United States, including personal accounts.
  • Cannot equal more than $25,000 per transaction.
  • Only include credits.

The Same Day ACH ruling was effective September 23, 2016.

How does Same Day ACH affect my business?
You may also notice Same Day ACH payments may be credited to your accounts more quickly, increasing your funds availability and cash flow opportunities. Plus, payments and payment-related information may flow more rapidly from bank to bank.

In addition to these benefits, Same Day ACH could also impact:

  • Your accounting system
  • Intra-day settlement
  • Trading partner agreements

It’s important to review and prepare these areas of your business for the upcoming Same Day ACH changes.

If your business would like more information on Same Day ACH, contact one of our Cash Management Specialists.

Enter Our Halloween Coloring Contest


It’s easy to enter!

  1. Color your coloring sheet.
    0-5 years coloring sheet
    6-9 years coloring sheet
    10+ years coloring sheet
  2. Complete the Registration Information at the bottom of this page.
  3. Drop off or mail your completed coloring sheet to your nearest participating Merchants Bank location by October 28 to be entered in our contest. You could win a prize!*

Merchants Bank locations participating in this year’s Halloween Coloring Contest include: Cannon Falls, Cottage Grove, Rosemount, Winona-Downtown, Winona-Goodview, Winona-Lakeside.

And, because you and all of our young savers are important to us, we’ll have a special Halloween treat waiting for you for returning your entry. We look forward to seeing you and don’t forget to tell a friend about our Halloween coloring contest!

*Please submit entries by October 28, 2016. Judging will take place on October 31, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. Three age groups: 0-5 years, 6-9 years, and 10 years and older. A prize will be awarded to each age group. No purchase or customer relationship necessary to enter or win. One entry per person. Winner will be notified by telephone. Children of Merchants employees are not eligible to win.