Meet Rachel Larson, Audit & Compliance Officer at Merchants

Rachel, pictured with her husband, Charlie and children, Greta and Charles

Rachel, pictured with her husband, Chuck and children, Greta and Charlie

How long have you been with Merchants?
Rachel: I started in the Bookkeeping area in 1999. Then, in 2000, I moved to the ACH/Wire department. From there I worked in the Internal Audit Department in 2004 and eventually the Audit/Compliance Department in 2005, where I still am today.

What do you enjoy about coming to work every day?
Rachel: The challenge and the people. My job is not monotonous; every day it’s something different. Banking industry regulations are evolving and complicated, and it’s challenging to stay up on top of everything, but it’s an attainable goal. Plus, I truly enjoy all of my co-workers.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?
Rachel: How to do a projected three-month budget and stick to it. Really.

What’s one thing on your bucket list?
Rachel: To go to Denali National Park in Alaska with my husband and two kids. We love the outdoors…camping, fishing, you name it.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?
Rachel: My Kindle, which is in a green protective case. I love to read…I read two books a week.

What’s your secret talent?
Rachel: Proofreading. I proofread articles, I proofread signs…I have no idea why. It must be the auditor in me.

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake

BlogRecipe-PumpkinCheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 3 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • whipped cream

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Make the crust by combining the gram cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about 2/3 of the way up the sides of a spring form pan. You don’t want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set it aside until you are ready to fill it.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

Pour the filling into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Top will turn a bit darker at this point. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.

When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator. When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Use dental floss to make a clean cut. Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream on top. Serves 8.

 

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

Meet Wendy Cagle, Loan Review Officer at Merchants

Wendy, with her son, Clay, and husband, Greg.

Wendy, with her son, Clay, and husband, Greg.

How long have you been with Merchants?
Wendy: In 1993, I started in Mortgage Processing – the same year I got married, actually! In 1996, I accepted a position in Loan Review. When I started in Loan Review, I mainly reviewed mortgage loans and created monthly Board reports. Eventually, I transitioned to commercial loan review and commercial has become my main focus. I audit our loans to make sure loan policy is followed and risks are identified. I also review a sample of all other loans throughout the year too.

What do you enjoy about coming to work every day?
Wendy: I definitely enjoy my co-workers. They make my day fun. I truly enjoy my work too. A lot of people might think loan review is boring, but every file I open is a new adventure. I’m looking at new things every day. You get to see how businesses grow over the years. Plus, Merchants is such a community minded place. Our management’s positive approach brightens our work environment.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?
Wendy: I’m a saver. If I wanted to buy something special when I was growing up, I had to save my own money for it.

What’s one thing on your bucket list?
Wendy: I’m not really a bucket list type of person. I want to live life every day and not wait for the future.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?
Wendy: Green beans. I am a green bean nut. I’m a vegetarian and they are a staple of my diet.

What’s your secret talent?
Wendy: Always trying to see the good in every situation. I’ve been called Miss Positivity.

Enter Our Halloween Coloring Contest

HalloweenColoringContest

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 Merchants Bank location by October 29 to be entered in our contest. You could win a prize!*

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 29, 2015. Judging will take place on October 29, 2015 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.

Mark Muck Joins Merchants Bank in Rochester as a Mortgage Lender

mortgage loans, home loans

Mark Muck, Mortgage Lender

Mark Muck has joined Merchants Bank as a mortgage lender, according to Merchants Bank in Rochester President John Doyle. Muck is transferring from the Merchants Bank location in Rosemount to fill the position at the Merchants Bank Green Meadows location.

“We’re excited to have Mark join our team. He has a complete understanding of the mortgage process and how to meet the needs of our customers,” Doyle said. “Mark’s experience with the Merchants organization is a bonus for our customers in that he’ll be able to share the full range and benefits of our products from day one.”

Muck has been with the Merchants organization since 2012 and has nearly 25 years in the mortgage industry, including 15 years owning his own company. He said he is especially excited about the products Merchants has to address the upcoming expansion and residential construction in the Rochester market.

“I believe our construction loan product is the best you’ll find. As Rochester continues to grow, I look forward to sharing it and our other mortgage loan solutions with members of the community,” Muck said.

Connie Fort Promoted to Vice President of Consumer Loans at Merchants Bank

personal loans

Connie Fort, Vice President of Consumer Loans

Connie Fort has been promoted to Vice President of Consumer Loans at Merchants Bank, according to Andrea Lisowski, Vice President and Manager of the Consumer Loan department.

“Connie has consistently been the top producer in Consumer Loans and does an exceptional job sharing other bank products with her customers, making sure all of their banking needs are met.” Lisowski said, noting that Fort continues in her role as the Assistant Manager of the Consumer Loan department.

Fort has been with the Merchants organization since 1989 and has worked in the Consumer Loan department since 2003. She has been Assistant Manager of the department since 2010.

“It’s a privilege to help our customers with their loan needs,” Fort said. “I am lucky to have people come back to me when they have a new need, and I am thankful they feel satisfied with the service I’ve provided so they then recommend me to their friends and family.”

In addition to being active in the community, Fort also presents information to students at Winona State University and high schools throughout the area, educating those students about credit, the importance of good credit and how to build credit.

“Connie’s dedication and passion to be extraordinary are very visible to her co-workers and her customers,” Lisowski said.

Loans are subject to credit approval.

You’re Invited – Southeast Minnesota Economic Forum

Blog-EconomicForum

Are you interested in learning more about the economic development initiatives in Southeast Minnesota and the potential impact of these projects? Merchants Bank invites you to the Southeast Minnesota Economic Forum on Tuesday, September 29 as economic experts and industry executives share their economic expectations for 2016.

Featured keynote speakers for this event include:

  • Tim Penny, a former U.S Representative and now President and CEO of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
  • Steve Loehr, Vice President of Operations for Kwik Trip

In addition to the two keynotes, the Forum will host two panels to provide economic perspectives from industry experts.

“With the economic initiatives taking place in Rochester, the growth opportunities for our region are exciting and Merchants looks forward to being a part of it,” said John Doyle, President for Merchants Bank in Rochester. “Bringing area business leaders together for an event like this is something to take advantage of.”

As a banking leader in the region, Merchants is proud to partner with the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce as the pinnacle sponsor of the Southeast Minnesota Economic Forum. “Merchants is excited to continue to help businesses grow and thrive as a result of future economic developments,” said Dan Massett, Central Region President for Merchants Bank.

Reserve your spot at the forum by calling the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce at (507) 288-1122 or visiting their website.

Date/Time: Tuesday, September 29 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Rochester International Event Center, 7333 Airport View Dr. SW
Price: $30 for Chamber members, $40 for Non-members, $270 for a table of six

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