President & CEO Rodney Nelson to Retire January 2017; Greg Evans to Succeed Nelson


From L-R: Greg Evans and Rod Nelson

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson will retire as of January 31, 2017. Winona Market President and Chief Banking Officer Greg M. Evans will take over the position after Nelson’s retirement, according to Scott Biesanz, Chairman of the MFGI Board of Directors.

Nelson joined the organization in 2000, and will retire after 17 years with the organization, including the past three as MFGI President & CEO. Before serving as President & CEO, Nelson was President of Merchants Bank for the Winona Charter and Executive Vice President for MFGI.

Biesanz noted that in Nelson’s time with Merchants, the organization has experienced significant growth. MFGI had a record year in 2015, posting net income of $13,454,698. Current asset size is $1.654 billion. When Nelson joined the organization in 2000, asset size was $440,288,106. When Nelson took over as MFGI President & CEO at the beginning of 2014, asset size was $1.366 billion. Today, Merchants has 450 employees serving 21 locations in west-central Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota. MFGI stock is currently trading at an all-time high, $48.50, as of Wednesday.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the great team of talented professionals at Merchants. My co-workers have made it their goal to exceed our customers’ expectations every day. That has helped our customers flourish, and because of their success, the communities we serve have grown and Merchants has grown. It has been very gratifying to be a part of that,”Nelson said. “I know that Greg will continue to help our organization excel for the benefit of our customers, shareholders and employees, just as he has done in his current role.”

Evans has been with the Merchants organization for 27 years. He served in the Marketing Department from 1989 to 2007, the last five years as Senior Vice President of Marketing. In 2007, he was named Regional President for Hampton, Cannon Falls, and Red Wing when Merchants Bank acquired those locations. In 2013, Evans was named president of the Winona Market and Chief Banking Officer, providing leadership for all Merchants Bank locations.

“I am truly honored that our Board of Directors has provided me with this leadership opportunity, and am humbled by the responsibility that comes with following Rod. He is an exceptional community banker and has been an extraordinary mentor for all of us at Merchants. I share Rod’s passion for community banking and the ongoing pursuit of excellence. We will continue to strive to grow as an independent community Bank and as a leader in contributing to the economic vitality of this Region. We have an awesome team and will continue to focus on taking care of customers. I look forward to my new role,” Evans said.

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