Preliminary net income numbers show that for the second consecutive year Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) has realized record earnings with $14,154,891 in 2016, according to MFGI President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson. The numbers are subject to final audit.
This year’s earnings surpassed last year’s record of $13,454,698. Nelson noted that 2016 also saw two dividend increases for shareholders, going from 53 cents to 55 cents per share in the Spring, and 55 cents to 56 cents per share in the Fall. MFGI share price started the year at $42.75 and was $54.40 at year-end.
“Our employees provided exceptional service and guidance to our customers to help them achieve their financial goals, and through doing that drove our income in the areas of mortgage activity, loan growth and credit card income,” said Nelson, who is retiring Tuesday, January 31, after 17 years with the Merchants organization.
Nelson noted that total loan growth was 7.2% over 2015. Deposits increased by 9.1% and MFGI’s capital grew from $139 million at year end 2015 to $150.1 million at year end 2016, an 8% increase. Total assets ended the year at $1.623 billion.
Nelson said five locations –Winona, Onalaska, Rochester, Lakeville and Hastings –and the company’s leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, topped $1 million in earnings.
“We believe that our focus on community banking and the power our local leaders have to make decisions, along with the lending capabilities that come with a bank of our size, make us unique in our industry and the best choice for individuals and businesses across our region,” Nelson said.
Greg Evans, who has been with the organization 28 years and is currently Chief Banking Officer, will succeed Nelson as MFGI President & CEO.
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 440 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.