Hope to See You at these Shows & Events

Events-Blog

Join our staff at these great events. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page for information on these events or pictures from other events you may have missed. 

2/9-2/11 Rochester Area Builders Home Show at the Mayo Civic Center

Show Hours

Friday, February 9: 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 10: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 11: 11 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

2/23-2/25 Chippewa Valley Home and Garden Show at the Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center

Show Hours

Friday, February 23: 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 24: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 25: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

3/3-3/4 Winona Better Living Show at Winona Senior High School

Show Hours

Saturday, March 3: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 4: 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

3/10 Lakeville Landscape & Home Show/Consumer Showcase at Lakeville North High School

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

4/19 Community Picnic for the Pets

2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Minnesota State College Southeast – Student Commons

Please join us for food and beverages. There will be no fee to attend, but donations will be collected to support the humane society. Come visit us to say hello!

4/20 Community Banking Month Community Appreciation

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Merchants Bank in Caledonia

Please join us in our lobby for hamburgers and refreshments, we appreciate your friendship over the years!

4/21 Cottage Grove Spring Business Showcase at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

4/27 Community Banking Month Community Appreciation

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Merchants Bank in Spring Grove

Please join us in our lobby for hamburgers and refreshments, we appreciate your friendship over the years!

4/28 St. Charles Home and Business Expo at St. Charles Elementary School

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

Controller Greg Rasmussen Promoted to Officer at Merchants Bank Equipment Finance

Greg Rasmussen, Controller at Merchants Bank Equipment Finance

Greg Rasmussen, Controller for Merchants Bank Equipment Finance (MBEF), has been promoted to an Officer with MBEF, according to Richard Barry, President of MBEF.

“Greg is an integral part of the ongoing review of our financial performance and charting the course for our future,” Barry said. “His skill and insight have contributed greatly to our growth.”

In addition, to his duties as Controller, Rasmussen supports the MBEF Sales and Portfolio Management team in pricing, software support and detailed reporting.

“MBEF is an important part of our entire organization in that it provides a viable leasing alternative for customers,” Rasmussen said. “It’s been great to be a part of it as we’ve grown and helped our customers.”

MBEF’s primary sales office is in Minneapolis. Rasmussen’s office is in Winona, within the team at Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI), MBEF’s parent company, and Merchants Bank. Rasmussen has been very active running the transportation and pick-up for Merchants Bank’s “10 Days of Giving” food drive that supports the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services.

Rasmussen is a native of River Falls, Wis., and is a graduate of Winona State University. He joined MBEF in 2000, and was one of six employees. Today, MBEF has 12 employees and has continued to make a significant impact to MFGI’s bottom line. MBEF primarily provides equipment lease and loan financing options to businesses located throughout the central U.S. and also partners with other finance companies in equipment finance transactions outside its marketing footprint. MBEF finances tangible assets over terms of 2 to 10 years on equipment with values generally ranging from $50,000 to over $10 million. MBEF serves many industries, including construction, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, food and agriculture.

MFGI, the parent company for MBEF, owns 21 Merchants Bank locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, has more than $1.6 billion in assets and is one of the largest independent financial organizations in its region.

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.

Danny Pohnl Joins Merchants Bank in Eau Claire as a Commercial Banker

Daniel Pohnl, Commercial Banker

Danny Pohnl has joined the growing team at Merchants Bank in Eau Claire as a Commercial Banker, according to Larry Accola, President for Merchants Bank in Eau Claire.

Pohnl has been in banking since 2011, working in mortgage loans, as a credit analyst and most recently as a commercial banker, all in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro market. He is an experienced SBA (Small Business Administration) Lender, comfortable working with SBA 7(a) and 504 loans. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he had a double major in Accounting and Finance. He is originally from Rhinelander.

“Danny has the background, experience and desire to help business owners reach their goals. He understands our market and is focused on providing exceptional customer service,” Accola said.

Merchants is continuing to add staff to serve customers in the greater Eau Claire area. Over the past six months they have added two mortgage lenders to help customers – with Ben Franko serving people in the Chippewa Valley and Tony Scalzo working with people northwest of Eau Claire.

“I’m excited to be with Merchants Bank. It has an excellent reputation in the banking industry as a community bank with the ability to help with projects of almost any size,” Pohnl said. “I’m especially excited to be with Merchants in Eau Claire because the Bank’s commitment to the market and the growth potential in the market.”

Merchants Bank started serving the Eau Claire market in 2014 when it acquired Alliance Bank in Eau Claire.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including its location in Eau Claire and another Wisconsin location in Onalaska. Minnesota locations include Winona, St. Charles, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, La Crescent, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Meet Kathy Simon, Credit Card Assistant Merchants

 

KS

Kathy and her grandchildren

When did you start your banking career?

 

Kathy: I started as a teller when I was 20 years old. I came to Merchants Bank in 2008 as a File Clerk, and then moved to Loan Servicing and Credit Cards.

What is your top banking tip?

Kathy: I would say check your statements for fraud. We see credit card fraud daily. If you pay attention to your statements, either paper or online, you may be able to catch fraud in time. If you suspect fraud on your account, the window to act is within 60 days from the statement’s cut-off date.

Acting as soon as you suspect something is always best. Or better yet, download our SecurLOCK mobile app on your mobile device to monitor your Merchants Credit Card daily. Many other cards have similar apps; take advantage of them to protect yourself.

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

Kathy: My mom always said, “Put money away for a rainy day!” That’s such a “mom” thing to say, isn’t it? But you what? It was great advice. A little saved goes a long way later.

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

Kathy: I would travel to Europe and give some to family and friends.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Kathy: It’s a toss-up between trees and avocados. If I had to pick, I’d say trees.

Click here to learn more about Credit Cards at Merchants Bank. Credit cards are subject to credit approval.

Building the Relationship

Triple O Dairy and Merchants Bank staff members

Pictured (l-r) Kerry Otte, Julie Otte, Brian Hokanson of Merchants Bank, Jenny Holz of Merchants Bank, Scott Otte, Duvae Otte, and Jay Otte.

The banking relationship between Triple O Dairy and Merchants Bank started at the State Fair, where one of Jay Otte’s children and one of Brian Hokanson’s children were showing animals. The dads started talking. Then, Jay invited Brian out to the operation, where Triple O Dairy milks more than 400 cows three times a day and provides the feed for the animals on the 1,700 acre farm. Soon thereafter, Triple O Dairy was changing banks. “I feel we have a personal relationship with them,” Jay said. “We’ve had nothing but a good experience.” As Brian, a Senior Lender with Merchants, and Lead Lending Assistant Jenny Holz stood nearby, Jay said he would recommend anyone consider Merchants for their banking needs. “They do a good job and are open to helping us.”

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.