Fifth Annual “10 Days of Giving” in Cottage Grove

Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove Launches Fifth Annual “10 Days of Giving;” “Swipe Out Hunger” Will Also Benefit the Friends in Need Food Shelf

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. – Merchants Bank is launching its fifth annual “10 Days of Giving” event to help those in need. The event officially runs December 1-10, although it does extend through the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train and Sheryl Crow’s concert, scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, December 14.

“We hope that people will take a few minutes out of their busy lives to enjoy Sheryl Crow and the Holiday Train and help those people who are less fortunate,” said Randy Bachman of Merchants, who serves on the Holiday Train committee.

This year, in addition to the “10 Days of Giving,” Merchants Bank is helping nominated local food shelves through “Swipe Out Hunger,” where Merchants is donating a nickel to those nominated food shelves, up to a total of $10,000, every time a Merchants Bank debit card or credit card is used between November 29 and December 15. The Friends in Need Food Shelf was nominated by Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove to benefit from “Swipe Out Hunger.”

Supporters of the Friends in Need Food Shelf can vote once a day, Nov. 29-Dec. 15, at the Merchants Bank Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank. At the end of the giveaway, Hastings Family Service will receive a percentage of the total amount of money donated to “Swipe Out Hunger” based on the percentage of votes it receives on Facebook.

Cottage Grove has been a highly successful stop for the Holiday Train with the Friends in Need Food Shelf benefitting from generous contributions of non-perishable food items, toiletries and money. Attendees are encouraged to bring toiletries and cash donations this year as well.

Area residents are encouraged to bring cash donations and non-perishable food items to the Holiday Train and to Merchants Bank, 7200 East Point Douglas Road S, as well as participating businesses and South Washington County schools.

Merchants Bank in Hastings Kicks Off “10 Days of Giving;” “Swipe Out Hunger” to Help

HASTINGS, Minn. — Merchants Bank in Hastings will partner again this year with Hastings Family Service (HFS) and area schools to help those in need during the “10 Days of Giving” food drive, December 1-10.

This year, in addition to the “10 Days of Giving,” Merchants Bank is helping nominated local food shelves through “Swipe Out Hunger,” where Merchants is donating a nickel to those nominated food shelves, up to a total of $10,000, every time a Merchants Bank debit card or credit card is used between November 29 and December 15. Hastings Family Service was nominated by Merchants Bank in Hastings to benefit from “Swipe Out Hunger.”

Supporters of Hastings Family Service can vote once a day, November 29-December 15, at the Merchants Bank Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank. At the end of the giveaway, Hastings Family Service will receive a percentage of the total amount of money donated to “Swipe Out Hunger” based on the percentage of votes it receives on Facebook.

For the past several years, students from around the Hastings area and community members collected food and money for those in the area who are less fortunate. Much of the food is collected during the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train visit to Hastings, scheduled this year for 4:30 p.m., December 12, at the Canadian Pacific Depot, 500 East Second Street.

“People in our area are generous and that is a great benefit to people who have a need,” said Bruce Goblirsch, President of Merchants Bank in Hastings. “Hastings Family Service does a tremendous job, and we are very happy to support its efforts.”

Area residents are encouraged to drop off monetary donations and non-perishable food items for the “10 Days of Giving” at Merchants Bank in Hastings, 1525 Vermillion Street. The Hastings bank is one of 20 Merchants Bank community banking locations throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Merchants just announced that has come to an agreement with Alliance Bank to purchase an Alliance location in Eau Claire, Wis. That sale is pending regulatory approval. Merchants Bank is a member FDIC.

Merchants Bank Looks to “Swipe Out Hunger” for Area Food Shelves

SwipeOutHungerAppBannerMerchants Bank will be donating 5 cents each time a Merchants Bank credit card or debit card is used between November 29 and December 15, up to a total of $10,000, for area food shelves during “Swipe Out Hunger,” the Bank’s second annual Facebook Giveaway.

The “Swipe Out Hunger” giveaway will work like this:

  • Supporters of area food shelves will be able to vote once per day between November 29 and December 15 for their chosen organization
  • At the end of the giveaway, nominated food shelves will receive a percentage of total amount of money raised based on the percentage of votes that organization receives on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank

The Food Shelves were nominated by bank locations (Bank locations making the nomination are noted in parentheses), and there were a number of locations that nominated the same organization. Participating this year are: SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf (Caledonia and Spring Grove), Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove), La Crescent Food Shelf (La Crescent), The Hunger Task Force (Onalaska), Channel One Rochester (Rochester), Southeast Minnesota Education & Resource Center (St. Charles), Winona Volunteer Services (Winona), 360 Communities (Lakeville), Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center (Apple Valley and Rosemount), Hastings Family Services (Hastings), the Cannon Falls Food Shelf (Cannon Falls), SEMCAC in Preston (Lanesboro), SEMCAC in Rushford (Rushford), the Randolph Food Shelf (Hampton) and the Red Wing Area Food Shelf (Red Wing).

10 Days Of Giving: The need continues

Greg Evans

Greg Evans

Written by Greg Evans for the Winona Daily News

For each of the past 25 years, the first 10 days of December have been treated as special at Merchants Bank and throughout the Winona community. It has become an extraordinary tradition for the entire community to embrace a spirit of collaboration and giving that far exceeds the expectations established when the idea for the “10 Days of Giving” food drive was hatched in 1989.

As the recently-hired marketing coordinator for Merchants Bank at the time, I became aware of the inability for Winona Volunteer Services to keep and adequate supply of non-perishable items on its emergency food shelves to meet the needs of people who were going hungry throughout Winona County. I was stunned. Growing up in Winona, I never saw a visible sign of hunger in our community. It shouldn’t be that way in a community as richly blessed as Winona.

Fundamental to Merchants Bank is the responsibility to step up as a community leader when there is a need to be met. I knew of an emergency food drive initiative coordinated by WGN-TV/Radio for the city of Chicago. I wondered aloud to the bank’s executive management team led by Pete Roehl if it would be possible for the bank to make something like that happen in Winona. Clearly, it was more than simply possible.

The partnership between Merchants Bank and Winona Volunteer Services that began modestly in 1989 has now grown to include virtually every viable institution throughout the community. “10 Days of Giving” has become its own brand, standing on its own because it symbolizes all that is truly special about my hometown. When there is a need, Winonans roll up their sleeves and help other Winonans.

As “10 Days of Giving” has grown beyond anybody’s expectations, you have helped feed hundreds of needy people throughout Winona County. And, unfortunately, the need for the services provided by Winona Volunteer Services continues to grow. As the community celebrates this, the 25th year of the “10 Days of Giving” food drive, please take pride in knowing your participation has provided emergency relief for hundreds of Winona Volunteer Services clients who remain virtually invisible to most of us. More importantly, give generously again this year at any Merchants Bank location, participating businesses or Winona Volunteer Services so that nobody in Winona County will go hungry this winter.

Greg Evans is Regional President of Merchants Bank — Cannon Falls, Hampton and Red Wing

Merchants Bank to Acquire Alliance Bank Location in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

MahoneyDickMerchants Bank and Alliance Bank have come to an agreement for Merchants Bank to purchase an Alliance Bank location in Eau Claire, according to Merchants Financial Group, Inc. President & CEO Richard L. Mahoney.

“We believe this is an excellent opportunity to expand into an important market,” Mahoney said. “We believe that our expertise in business banking and company resources will be appealing to business owners in the Eau Claire area.”

The purchase includes the Alliance Bank Mall Drive location, as well as deposits and loans from the Mall Drive location and Alliance’s Pinnacle Way location. All told, Merchants Bank will be acquiring about $48 million in deposits and $17 million in loans.

“We know that Merchants Bank will take care of customers from both locations and will provide those customers the service they have come to expect,”said V. Philip Reim of Alliance Bank.
Terms of the sale were not released. Pending regulatory approval, Mahoney said he anticipates the sale being completed near the middle of February.

“Our strong equity position allows us to act on opportunities that make sense for us to pursue,” Mahoney said. “With our organic growth and acquisitions, we expect continued growth for the foreseeable future.”

25 years, 250 Days of Giving

10DaysCoChairsWritten by Terry Hawkings and Mark Metzler

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Merchants Bank’s “10 Days of Giving,” we thank you for your generosity in helping those in need. We’ve been successful in providing more than 2.1 million pounds of food over the first 24 years of the “10 Days of Giving.” The accomplishments are great, but the need remains strong.

Take a look at these numbers:

  • In 2012, 4,374 different people were helped by the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services.
  • On average, 2,111 people and 941 households were served each month at Winona Volunteer Services
  • On average, 257 individuals and 111 households were served with emergency food from Winona Volunteer Services
  • On average 35,712 pounds of food were distributed each month
  • Of the people who received food, 36 percent were employed, 47 percent receive government benefits, and 9 percent have no income

Winona Volunteer Services, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, has incredible buying power. Each dollar given to Winona Volunteer Services can buy a great deal of food. For instance, in July of 2013, 35,783 pounds of food was purchased from the Channel One Food Bank for distribution. The average cost of each pound distributed was $1.04. Given this buying power, we ask that you seriously consider giving a monetary donation to this year’s “10 Days of Giving” food drive. It will have more of an impact for more people.

So, what can you do to help make sure that no one in Winona County goes hungry? We ask that you join by giving what you can.

You can bring your monetary donation or donation of non-perishable food items to any Merchants Bank location.

You may also feel free to send a check to Merchants Bank, ATTN: 10 Days of Giving, 102 E. 3rd Street, Winona, MN 55987. Merchants Bank is a Member FDIC.

You may also donate directly on the Winona Volunteer Services website at http://www.winonavs.org.

At this time of year it is easier to remember people are less fortunate than us, but hunger remains throughout the year, and it is important to remember that contributions from the “10 Days of Giving” help to meet that need for a significant part of the year.

Thank you again for your past support. We look forward to your contributions in making the 25th anniversary of the “10 Days of Giving” memorable for our community, and more importantly, for those who need our help.

Terry Hawkings and Mark Metzler are co-chairs of the 2013 10 Days of Giving campaign.

Ken Graner Named President of Upcoming Merchants Bank locations in Rushford and Lanesboro

Kenneth Graner

Ken Graner

Ken Graner has been appointed President of Merchants Bank in Rushford and Lanesboro, according to Merchants Bank Charter President Rod Nelson.

Graner will oversee the operations in the new locations. Merchants Bank is scheduled to take over ownership of the new locations from Associated Bank at 5 p.m. November 15.

“I look forward to continuing and building relationships with people in the area,” said Graner, who is a resident of Lanesboro. “We believe that this is a great area for us to grow.”

Before coming to Merchants four years ago, where he has worked in Merchants Bank’s St. Charles location, Graner had worked in Associated Bank’s Lanesboro location, starting there in 1993.

“Certainly, this is a homecoming of sorts for Ken,” Nelson said. “We’re happy for him, and we are especially happy for our soon-to-be customers in Rushford and Lanesboro. Ken has great experience to assist our small business and Ag customers. I believe that Ken’s knowledge, expertise and ability to build long-term relationship will serve those customers well.”

With the addition of Rushford and Lanesboro, Merchants Bank will have 20 locations and $1.348 billion in assets. Merchants has locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Caledonia, La Crescent, Onalaska, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. The “flagship” Merchants Bank in Winona was founded in 1875. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Merchants Capital, the company’s leasing arm, is based in the Twin Cities. Merchants stock is closely held, but is available to the public when shares become available. There are approximately 400 shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.