Springtime Pea Salad from the Merchants Family Cookbook

Springtime Pea Salad


  • 1 package frozen peas (10 ounces)
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly diced
  • 1 cup small cauliflowerettes cauliflower tops cut small)
  • 3 green onion tops, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds


Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Announces Record Year with $13,454,698 in Net Income


Rod Nelson, President/CEO

Preliminary net income numbers for Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) show its best year in history with $13,454,698 in earnings, according to MFGI President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson. The numbers are subject to final audit.

The record year is consistent with the strong earnings history of the organization. The previous record was $12,439,492 in net income in 2012.

“All of our employees across our 21 locations did great work in 2015,” Nelson said. “The work of our lenders was especially critical to our success in 2015.”

Nelson noted that loan growth was 12.1% over 2014. Deposits increased by 2.6% and MFGI’s capital grew from $131.2 million at year end 2014 to $139 million at year end 2015, a 5.9% increase. Total assets ended the year at $1,589,202,831.

Nelson said four locations – Winona, Lakeville, Onalaska and Hastings – and the company’s leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, topped $1 million in net income.

“It is important to note that all our locations contributed significantly to our record year. As a community banking organization, the size of our banks and the communities they serve vary greatly, and the leadership in those locations are empowered to best meet the needs of their customers and the area. We think this sets us apart in the banking industry,” Nelson said. “Our success has been built on the long-term personal relationships our employees build with our customers. We believe that is a primary reason people choose Merchants Bank.”

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 more than 450 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

What You Should Know about Credit Utilization


While the actual formula for calculating a credit score has never been revealed by the Federal Trade Commission, we know credit scores are based primarily on credit report information from the credit bureaus. One piece of this puzzle is your outstanding debt, which includes your credit utilization.

What is credit utilization?
Credit utilization is how much credit you are using compared to how much you have available on your credit card accounts. This amount is typically expressed as a percentage and may also be referred to as your credit utilization ratio. For example, if you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit and your current balance is $5,000; your credit utilization ratio is 50%.

Keep in mind that your credit utilization is comprised of the revolving credit card debt on all of your cards and not influenced by other types of loans you may have, for example a home or vehicle loan.

How much does it impact my credit score?
Most experts agree that your credit utilization ratio accounts for 30% of your credit score. Being almost a third of the potential calculation, your credit utilization can have a significant impact on your score and is something you should keep an eye on.

Is there a perfect formula for managing my outstanding debt?
Perfect? No. But, it’s generally advisable to keep your credit utilization ratio at no more than 30%. This means you’re using no more than 30% of your available credit lines across all of your credit card accounts. In addition, keep these tips in mind:

  • Track how much you charge each month to get a handle on your credit utilization.
  • In addition to tracking how much you charge, know your current limits for each of your credit cards so you can properly calculate your own ratio.
  • Set up automatic balance alerts on your cards so you know when you’re getting close to the 30% ratio.

If you’re looking for a great rate to help you manage your credit card balances, consider a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard Credit Card.* We offer 0% APR for the first six months on all balances transfers and purchases and an everyday low rate of 9.99% after that. View disclosures and apply now.

For more credit score education, visit our website.

*Subject to approval.