Jim Vrchota Joins Merchants Bank in Winona as a Vice President and Commercial Banker

Jim Vrchota, Vice President and Commercial Banker

Jim Vrchota, Vice President and Commercial Banker

Jim Vrchota has joined the team at Merchants Bank as Vice President and Commercial Banker, according to Randy Domeyer, Senior Vice President and Commercial Banking Department Manager

“We are excited to have Jim join our team in Winona,” Domeyer said. “His experience in business development and lending will benefit our customers and our lending team here at Merchants Bank.”

Vrchota has more than 33 years of experience in the banking industry, much of it as a Senior Lender and Market President. Most recently he served as Senior Vice President at United Prairie Bank in Spicer, Minnesota, where he worked in commercial and ag lending. Vrchota also has a great deal of experience in SBA (Small Business Administration) lending.

“I am happy to be a part of a banking organization that has such a tremendous reputation for helping its customers meet their goals,” Vrchota said. “I look forward to becoming a part of the Winona community.”

Vrchota has a long history of community involvement, especially in the areas of economic development and community service.

John Piscitiello Joins Merchants Bank in Apple Valley as a Commercial Banker

Piscitiello, Johncrop

John Piscitiello, Commercial Banker

John Piscitiello has joined Merchants Bank in Apple Valley as a Vice President and Commercial Banker, according to Merchants Bank Regional President Lawrence Stovern.

“John’s experience with commercial lending and his experience in the Twin Cities market will allow him to assess and meet the needs of his customers,” Stovern said. “We look forward to John growing with us as we continue to expand our reach in the Twin Cities.”

Piscitiello has been in the banking industry the past 16 years, most recently with Associated Bank. He has also worked with the Safire Group, Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, and he started his career working in construction lending for his own company.

Piscitiello is a Winona native and graduate of Saint Mary’s University in Winona. Merchants Bank was founded in Winona.

“I grew up with Merchants Bank and know that it is an incredible organization and an exceptional lender. It’s also one of the best kept secrets in banking in the Twin Cities. That’s starting to change, and I look forward to introducing more business owners and key decision makers in the Twin Cities to Merchants Bank,” Piscitiello said.

Visit our website to learn more about business loans, lines of credit and more. Subject to credit approval.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Posts First Quarter Earnings Ahead of Plan and Ahead of 2014

Rod Nelson, President/CEO

Rod Nelson, CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced first quarter net income of $3,358,297, more than $620,000 ahead of plan and more than $560,000 ahead of 2014, according to Merchants Financial Group, Inc. President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson.

“We think the result bodes well for the remainder of the year,” Nelson said. “We have seen increased mortgage volume and income because of the influence of the low interest rate environment, and our commercial bankers continued their great efforts in establishing relationships that have led to increases in the commercial loan portfolio.”

As a result of the positive performance, the MFGI Board of Directors authorized a semiannual dividend of 50 cents per share to shareholders during its April meeting, the same dividend as paid after the third quarter of 2014. The dividend will be paid June 19 to shareholders of record as of May 15.

The first quarter income comes on the heels of Merchants Bank’s earnings of $12,349,685 in net income in 2014, its second highest total ever. Merchants posted net income of $11,612,049 in 2013 and $12,439,492 in 2012, its record year.

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. Merchants Bank was founded in 1875 and is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Merchants Capital, the company’s leasing arm, is based in the Twin Cities.

Merchants Bank has more than 425 employees, many of whom give significant volunteer time to organizations in their communities. Additionally, during 2014, Merchants Bank made charitable donations to nearly 300 organizations. The ownership of Merchants Financial Group is made up of its employees and mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Boy Scouts of America Troop 55 is the Top Vote Getter in 5-4-5


Teresa Fegyak, Customer Service Representative at Merchants Bank in Spring Grove

The Boy Scouts of America Troop 55 was the top vote getter in voting to determine which Spring Grove area nonprofit organizations will be featured each month in Merchants Bank in Spring Grove.

The Boy Scouts received 281 votes and will be the featured organization during May at Merchants Bank in Spring Grove. Merchants Bank will match up to $200 in donations made to the Boy Scouts at the Bank.

“We believe giving back to the nonprofit organizations that make our community such a unique place to live is the most fitting way to celebrate our fifth anniversary in Spring Grove,” said Teresa Fegyak, who is coordinating the event for Merchants Bank.

During April, area residents were able to place votes for their favorite nonprofit organization at the Bank and on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page.  The top five organizations will be featured by the Bank each month, May through September, and will each be eligible to receive up to $200 in matching funds. The other organizations to be featured will be:

June: Bluff Country Gathering, 229 votes
July: Gundersen Tweeten Care Center, 237 votes
August: Houston County 4-H, 115 votes
September: Spring Grove Volunteer Fire Department, 114 votes

Merchants will also sponsor a celebratory event for all area nonprofit organizations in the Spring Grove lobby at 4:15 p.m. on October 5.

New Staff Here to Help You

At Merchants Bank, we are happy to welcome new employees and celebrate new positions filled by current staff. These frontline employees are all looking forward to serving you. Take a moment to congratulate them.

LouwagieJimJim Louwagie has joined Merchants Bank as a Commercial Banker in Lakeville. Jim has had an extensive background in banking, including working for Bremer, Wells Fargo and Signal Bank. In addition, Jim was a Bank President/Team Lead for Anchor Bank for six years. Most recently, Jim was the Chief Operating Officer for BDS Laundry Services. Jim is happy to be back in banking and at Merchants Bank.


MonfreJasonJason Monfre has joined Merchants Bank as a Mortgage Lender in Rochester. Jason was recently a full-time student and worked at the Charter House at the Mayo Clinic. He also previously worked at America One Finance as a Branch Manager/Owner and at Ameriquest Mortgage as an Account Executive. Jason loves sports (basketball, football, and baseball) and played baseball in college for the Indiana Hoosiers and the Minnesota Gophers. Jason loves to play guitar and sing, especially with his one year old son.  He is originally from Milwaukee, WI and is a big Brewers and Packer fan.

ShannonTriciaTricia Shannon has joined Merchants Bank as a Part-Time Teller in Caledonia. Tricia previously worked at Alco as a Group Manager for ten years. She lives in Caledonia with her five daughters, grandson and four cats. To relax she enjoys crocheting.

Why Follow Merchants?

Merchants Bank, Social Media, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn

More and more people are following us on social media. But, why would you want to do that? How would you benefit?

Find the Fun. Banking isn’t all business. We help you connect to fun events happening in your community and around the region. Plus, we’ll share pictures at events that have already taken place. “Like” us at https://www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank

Build Your Business. Periodically, we share great tips and insights we learn that might help your business. We encourage you to use LinkedIn to connect with us and others in the business community. http://www.linkedin.com/company/merchants-bank-na

It’s Not Scary. Following us on You Tube gives you access to the best information we have in educational material. If there’s something that you don’t understand about banking, we may have a video that helps to explain it. If there’s something you’d like to learn about., take a look at http://www.youtube.com/MerchantsBank1875

So, make sure to see what we’re doing on social media and then join in.

Hope to See You at These May Events!

Merchants Bank, Community Events

Our staff invites you to join them at these great events throughout April. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page for information on these events or pictures from other events you may have missed.

5/16 Spring Grove Syttende Mai Parade: 1:30 p.m.

Look for our Spring Grove staff as they celebrate our five-year anniversary during the Syttende Mai parade.


5/16 Armed Forces Day Recognition: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in St. Charles

Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our lobby to honor those in our military.