Meet John Aarness, Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank

John Aarness Merchants Bank Mortgage LenderWhen did you start your lending career?

John: I started my lending career in southern California in March of 1972. The bulk of my time was spent originating FHA and VA loans. Eventually I moved to Minnesota with my wife and started at Merchants in 2001.

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

John: Be patient, talk to an experienced builder and know what you want. Knowing what you want is the hardest part. I would also suggest building a traditional house…remember, you have to sell it eventually.

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

John: Earn it before you spend it. I always earned money to pay for something I wanted, whether it was shoveling sidewalks when I was younger or getting a part-time job when I was old enough.

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

John: I have three boys and I would pay off their mortgages.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

John: I have a 1984 ugly green Vespa scooter. It’s a real beaut, despite the color. A fun machine.

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

John: I think it would be a luxury garage…heated, with a refrigerator, a large work bench and fully equipped with all the tools I need. Of course, it’d have a big TV too.

Contact John today to get start the application process for your home building or buying project. Find current mortgage rates and apply on our website.

Kim O’Reilly Joins Merchants Bank as Vice President and Commercial Lender

KimOReillyWelcome

Kim O’Reilly has joined the Merchants Bank team as a Vice President and Commercial Lender, according to Brian Hokanson, Senior Vice President and Senior Lender for the Cannon Falls region.

A well-known banker through the region, O’Reilly will be working with customers throughout the area and will have offices in both Cannon Falls and Red Wing.

“What makes Kim an exceptional banker is her desire to understand the goals of her customers and then put together a solution that helps the customer realize those goals,” Hokanson said. “She does that for the smallest companies to the biggest with an equal amount of energy and knowledge.”

O’Reilly has been in banking for 19 years, including the past 11 at Associated Bank in Red Wing. She said she’s looking forward to being a part of the Merchants Bank team.

“Merchants has an excellent reputation because it’s committed to its customers.” O’Reilly said. “That’s important to me.  I am committed to my family, our farm, our church and our community, and my customers know that I deliver that same level of commitment to everything I do for them.”

O’Reilly lives in the Red Wing area, where she, her husband, Casey, and their three sons operate an organic dairy farm with 200 head of livestock. She is active in the community as a Red Wing Chamber Ambassador, a member of the United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties Board of Directors, and she also teaches Sunday School at the Eidsvold Lutheran Church. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a Masters’ in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas.

Contact Kim today: kjoreilly@merchantsbank.com or 507-263-7561.

Sweetheart Pie

BlogRecipe-SweetheartPie

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipped topping
  • 21 oz. can strawberry pie filling
  • 1 graham cracker crust pie shell

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Stir in whipped topping and pie filling. Mix well. Pour into pie shell. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

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