During its annual meeting Thursday, April 5 Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) shareholders learned details behind MFGI’s third consecutive record year, re-elected two Directors, elected a new Director and bid farewell to a long-time member of the MFGI Board of Directors.
MFGI Board Member Richard J. Pope, who is retiring from the MFGI Board and the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors, provided shareholders with perspective on MFGI’s long and consistent growth. Pope, the Chairman of the Board, WinCraft, Inc., has served the Merchants organization as a Board member for 36 years.
Joining Pope in making presentations were MFGI President & CEO Greg Evans and MFGI CFO Sue Savat. Savat provided a detailed look at the past year, while Evans provided overall industry perspective and took a look ahead at MFGI’s future.
MFGI formally reported net income of $20,878,465 for 2017. The record earnings report includes $14,297,105 in earnings from Merchants core business activity in 2017, which surpassed 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.
“We are thankful for our customers’ trust, the efforts of our employees and the support of our shareholders,” Evans said. “We are especially grateful for the guidance our boards of directors provide to our banks as we grow, sharing their understanding of the communities we serve. Dick (Pope) has been vitally important to our growth because of the insight he has shared, and his influence will continue to be felt as we continue our growth.”
Ann E. Merchlewitz was elected to a three-year term as a new Director for the MFGI Board. Merchlewitz is Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. A Winona resident, she has been a long-time member of the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors.
Re-elected to three-year terms as Directors were Michael F. Cichanowski, Chief Executive Officer of We-no-nah Canoe, Inc., and Bruce E. Ryan, President of Ryan Windows & Siding, Inc. of Rochester.
Also recognized was Steven G. Kohner, President of Modern Ready Mix, who retired after 15 years on the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors.
Evans also noted that MFGI Director Timothy J. Murphy, Partner at Hammell & Murphy, P.L.L.P. of Caledonia, is stepping off the MFGI Board after many years of service, but will continue as a member of the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of Directors for Caledonia, Lanesboro, Rushford and Spring Grove, where he serves as Board Chairman.
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. 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.