Marcus Krings Promoted to Credit Card Manager for Merchants Bank

Marcus Krings, Credit Card ManagerMarcus Krings has been promoted to Credit Card Manager, according to Sue Hovell, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking Performance for Merchants Bank.

“Marcus is focused on providing the best in customer service to our credit card customers,” Hovell said. “His knowledge will be a benefit to both our retail and business customers.”

Krings has been in banking for more than 11 years, including experience in customer service supervision. He has been with Merchants since 2012, starting in the Electronic Banking area. He joined the Credit Card department in 2016.

“Our credit cards are more than competitive. People will be pleased about how we compare to big bank credit cards and provide that community bank level of service. Plus, we take great care to help protect our customers from fraud,” Krings said.

Krings said Merchants offers a credit card security app, and the department makes it a point to contact people if there is suspected fraud on a credit card. Another area of emphasis is merchant processing, which helps businesses process card transactions.

“I’m looking forward to helping our cardholders,” Krings said. “If anyone has any questions about their credit cards, they should give us a call. We’re here to help.”

Krings is from Winona and is a graduate of Winona Senior High School and Winona State University. He succeeds Deb Kemp, who recently retired.

Merchants Bank has 21 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. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Announces Record Earnings of $20,878,465 in 2017

Greg Evans, President & CEO

For the third consecutive year Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) has recorded record earnings, ending 2017 with $20,878,465 in net income.

The record earnings report includes $14,297,105 in earnings from Merchants core business activity in 2017, which surpasses 2016’s record earnings total by $140,000 on its own. Additionally, Merchants recorded an accounting adjustment of more than $6.5 million as a result of the reduction of a deferred tax liability, necessitated by the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 occurring before year-end, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

“We are especially pleased with the work of our team across all of our locations in pushing our core earnings to a record level,” Evans said. “While we appreciate the addition of the extra income that comes from the tax act, it can only be viewed as a one-time addition to our bottom line because of the deferred tax line item on our balance sheet.”

MFGI benefitted from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 primarily because of depreciable assets leased to commercial clients through the Company’s equipment finance division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance (MBEF) in Minneapolis. The corporate tax rate reduction impacted the reduction of that future tax payment liability, creating the additional income accounting adjustment. Because of the significant year-over-year increase in reported net income, the MFGI Board of Directors authorized a special $1 per share dividend to be paid to shareholders. That dividend payment will be made March 30 to shareholders of record as of February 9.

Evans said MFGI’s focus is on the core earnings of the company, and he credited deposit growth, strong mortgage activity and commercial loan growth for contributing to the record year.

“I am exceptionally proud of our team and the work we did together, especially over the last quarter of the year to reach this level of accomplishment,” Evans said, noting that MFGI’s net income through the first three quarters of 2017 was at $8,841,114.

MFGI’s net income was $14,154,891 for 2016 and $13,454,698 for 2015. MFGI’s stock continues to perform well, trading today at $71.00 per share.

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.

Industry Snapshot: Food Manufacturing & Wholesale

FoodManufacturing-Blog

Get the industry data and financing solutions to make 2018 a success.

In each edition of our Business eNewsletter this year, we’ll be highlighting a different industry to bring you useful data and research. In our January edition, we’re providing a snapshot of food manufacturing and wholesale – an industry we’re proud to serve through both our bank and leasing company.

As a seasonal industry, your food wholesale or manufacturing business may have ended the year on a busy note. But, how optimistic should you feel about 2018?

Here are the latest industry indicators, including data on growth opportunities and potential challenges. Plus, learn how our experienced team of Commercial Banking advisors can help you prepare for another successful year.

2018 Food Manufacturing & Wholesale Forecast

While food manufacturers and wholesalers will face challenges due to the rising cost of fuel and commodity prices, both areas should expect growth in the coming years.

This is no surprise to Shawn Sackman, Merchants Bank Commercial & Ag Lender in Onalaska, “[t]he businesses we serve have always done an outstanding job of meeting customer demands, while still being innovative in a tight industry.”

Predicted Growth between 2017 and 2021

Growth for your industry depends on both food consumption and population growth.

So, what do the numbers say? According to data from Hoovers and First Research:

  • Revenue for US food manufacturers is forecast to grow at an annual compounded rate of 4%, based on changes in physical volume and unit prices.
Food manufacturing growth graph

From Hoover’s/D&B subsidiary First Research. Revenue (in current dollars) for US food manufacturers is forecast to grow at an annual compounded rate of 4% between 2017 and 2021, based on changes in physical volume and unit prices. Data Published: September 2017.

  • Domestic demand for food, an indicator for food wholesalers, is forecast to grow at an annual compounded rate of 3%.
Food wholesalers growth trend graph

From Hoover’s/D&B subsidiary First Research. Domestic demand for food, an indicator for wholesalers, is forecast to grow at an annual compounded rate of 3% between 2017 and 2021. Data Published: September 2017.

Key Industry Indicators

In addition, these indicators provide a more comprehensive picture. This data can help you determine areas of potential progress or risk for the coming months and years depending on your specific products.

Food Demand:

  • US retail sales for food and beverage stores increased 2.2% in the first ten months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
  • Total US wholesale sales of nondurable goods rose 4.7% in September 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
  • US retail sales for food services and drinking places increased 2.8% in the first ten months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

Food Distribution: US tourism spending for food services and drinking places increased 3.2% in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

Food Manufacturing Demand: US nondurable goods manufacturers’ shipments of food products rose 5.3% year-to-date in September 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

Product Values: The consumer price index for food rose 1.3% in October 2017 compared to the same month in 2016.

Industry Competition

Several large companies, including Sysco, McLane, Nestle S.A. and COFCO, dominate the industry when it comes to sales and output. But, small businesses still make up 68% of food manufacturing* in the United States.

As a small sausage producer in La Crosse, WI, Bakalars Sausage Company has seen many changes to the industry in their 53 years of business. “Over the past several years, the industry has gotten tighter with smaller producers getting out of the business,” said Mike Bakalars, Owner. “I’m proud to say that we’re one of the survivors and through a lot of hard work our business has doubled over the past 15 years.”

So how can you differentiate yourself from other businesses in the industry? According to Hoover’s research, here are your best opportunities to stand out in a competitive market:

Product Mix – Food manufacturers typically have one or two extremely successful products or brands, in addition to a mix of specialty items. Identify which of your products constantly produces income and which products may become less popular as consumer tastes change.

For Bakalars, this means a mix of 35 different products overall, including the Schweigert sausage brand and specialty products. “We were fortunate to acquire Schweigerts several years ago. As the official hot dog of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings, it’s been a very stable product line for us while we continue to produce other specialty sausage with smaller demand,” said Mike.

Competing with Chain Distribution – Larger companies, like Wal-Mart, have benefitted from owning the entire process from purchasing to operations. Small wholesalers should consider the cost and time-saving benefits of controlling the entire production process. For example, Bakalars produces, packages and ships their entire product line from their headquarters in La Crosse, WI.

How Merchants Bank Can Help

As a community bank, we work hard to help local businesses – like Bakalars – succeed with the expertise and financial resources you need. We believe that when businesses in our communities thrive, everyone benefits. Merchants is proud to serve many in the food industry from producers to manufacturers to wholesalers, across our footprint.

“We’ve had a longtime partnership with Merchants – since 2003. Their bankers understand how our industry works, and so they understand the banking services we need to be successful,” said Mike Bakalars. “As an industry, we can be seasonal, so they have helped us with understanding and meeting our cash flow needs.”

In addition traditional financing in the form of business loans and lines of credit, we also offer services in the areas of cash management and security.

“In order to make the most of your accounts receivable and payable, we help your company understand how various types of transactions function – which is especially important in the food industry. Each transaction type is unique,” said Becky Herrmann, Cash Management Specialist at Merchants Bank in Onalaska. “Another key is knowing how to protect your funds with the best monitoring and management tools. Our Cash Management team is here to advise you on the solutions that fit your business and answer your questions.”

To learn more about how our Commercial Bankers and Cash Management Specialists can work with your business, contact your local expert.

Additional Resources:

 

*https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-markets-prices/processing-marketing/manufacturing.aspx

** You will be linking to another website not owned or operated by Merchants Bank, NA. Merchants Bank, NA is not responsible for the availability or content of this website and does not represent either the linked website or you, should you enter into a transaction. We encourage you to review their privacy and security policies which may differ from Merchants Bank, NA.

Our Top 4 Reasons to Use Floor Plan Financing

FloorPlanFinancing-Blog

If your business manages equipment or vehicle inventory – from cars to power sports, to manufactured homes to implement dealers or other types of floor plans – you know how complicated inventory management can get.

Our efficient and easy floor plan financing system helps you take care of it all from paying off and buying units to inventory management and more.

“We’ve been impressed with the convenience of the floor plan financing system from Merchants Bank. In a matter of a click, I can access balance, payment and payoff information when I need it. Everything we need to manage our inventory is at our fingertips.” – Randy Stevens, Partner at Adamson Motors, Inc.

So, how can floor plan financing benefit your business? Here are our top reasons:

Easy Access to Your Line of Credit
Access to your line of credit when you need it – even from your office. We provide same day funding to our floor plan clients.* Plus, we offer competitive rates and flexible terms tailored to your business.

Increase Efficiencies in Inventory Management
Our floor plan system provides robust reports and data to help you see the whole picture, including turn time of inventory, interest expense and more. Plus, you’ll receive curtailment notifications. 

“We’re proud to offer a floor plan system that rivals what is offered at larger corporate banks,” said Dan Massett, President for Merchants Bank’s Central Region. “It’s easier than ever to access the information you need at your fingertips.”

Better Understand Costs
Tracking your costs, including interest, is easy with our system.

Simple and Intuitive System
You’ll find that our floor plan financing system is user-friendly and tasks you’d like to complete are just a click away, including:

  • Easy process for paying off and buying units.
  • Draft payments and submit directly to the manufacturer on your behalf when you add inventory

“We’re here to help make things easier with a best in class floor plan system and financing options tailored to your business,” continued Massett. “It’s truly important to us at Merchants to get to know your business and find solutions that will help you be successful.”

To learn more about our customized floor plan financing and how it can benefit equipment or vehicle inventory management for your business, visit our website or contact your local Merchants Bank Commercial Banker.

 

*Same day funding available if initiated prior to Merchants Bank cut-off time.

Meet Carol Bell, Credit Card Specialist at Merchants Bank

Carol Bell, Credit Card Specialist

Carol Bell, Credit Card Specialist

Get to know Carol Bell from the Credit Card department at Merchants Bank.

When did you start your banking career? What are you looking forward to in your new position?

Carol: I started at Merchants Bank in 2002 and have worked in departments everywhere from compliance to mortgage processing to loan servicing to underwriting and now I’m here in credit cards. I’m looking forward to taking the knowledge I’ve gained from other departments to help our credit card customers as much as I can.

What is your best banking tip?

Carol: I think it’s really important to bank locally so you can build a trusting relationship with people that understand your area and can provide reliable, personalized service.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?

Carol: My dad says, “If you don’t have the money for it, don’t buy it.” Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as larger, long-term purchases like a car or college tuition, but it is still a good thing to remember for day-to-day purchases. Simply put: be responsible with your money.

If you had $1,875,000 what is one FUN thing you’d do with the money?

Carol: I would travel somewhere warm…with a beach…clear waters…and cold beverages!

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Carol: Honestly, Christmas trees!

Subject to credit approval.