Merchants Financial Group, Inc Announces Earnings of $8.93 Million through Second Quarter of 2019

Greg Evans, President & CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced robust business growth and year-to-date net income of $8.93 million through the end of the second quarter, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

Year-over-year loan growth for the Winona-based Company was $111.3 million (8.2%) and deposit growth was a healthy $95.8 million (6.9%)

“As usual our strong performance during the first half of the year has resulted from a total team effort, with meaningful contributions coming from business growth throughout our footprint,” said Evans. “I’m tremendously proud of our entire banking team. We continue to experience strong organic growth because of bankers who stand out as difference makers in a very competitive environment.”

Net income is ahead of MFGI’s plan for 2019 by $1.1 million, but just slightly behind last year’s earnings pace by $206,944. One impact on year-over-year earnings was a necessary contribution of an additional $543,000 in loan loss reserve put aside to cushion against possible future loan stress. Contributing to the overall positive performance, three of the Bank’s four regions and Secondary Market Mortgage operation exceeded their respective income forecasts through the first six months of 2019.

“It’s our privilege to help so many individuals and families achieve their dream of home ownership,” noted Evans. “Many customers have also benefitted from the current low rate environment and reduced their mortgage payments by refinancing.”

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.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank has more than $1.76 billion in assets and was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to credit approval.

Merchants Bank Receives Regulatory Approval to Purchase First National Bank of Northfield

Greg Evans, President & CEO

The Federal Reserve Bank has approved Merchants Financial Group’s application to purchase the First National Bank of Northfield, according to Merchants President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gregory M. Evans.

“We’ve been given a tremendous opportunity to continue to build upon First National Bank’s respected reputation in Northfield and the surrounding area, and demonstrate the same philosophy with regard to community banking and personalized service,” said Evans. “We have absolute confidence this partnership will be beneficial to all of our stakeholders, including the loyal First National customers we will have the privilege to serve in Northfield.”

The sale includes about $196 million in deposits, $165 million in loan relationships, $222 million in total assets, outstanding stock for First National Bank of Northfield, as well as the physical locations of the banks in Northfield and loan production office in Bloomington. The sale is scheduled to be completed in late August. Terms of the sale have not been disclosed.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank is the fifth-largest banking organization headquartered in the state of Minnesota with more than $1.76 billion in assets.

Read the first announcement about the First National Bank of Northfield acquisition. 

It’s a Journey: Leadership Insight from Our Regional Presidents


The three Regional Presidents on our Executive Leadership Team, Dan Massett, Andrew Guzzo and Lawrence “Skip” Stovern, have nearly 100 combined years of experience in business, banking and leadership. Dan guides the Central Region, Andrew leads our Winona and Southern Regions, and Skip takes care of the Twin Cities Region.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Dan: When I was a little kid I wanted to play in the NBA. I loved basketball, I loved the team aspect and camaraderie of it. Once I got to college, I realized that probably wasn’t realistic, and neither was my other dream of being a general manager of a basketball team.

But I liked putting pieces of a larger entity together, I liked motivating people. After touring a community bank in college I realized that banking and business required a lot of the things I liked: working with a variety of people to create teams and put pieces together to achieve a greater goal.

Andrew: I always gravitated toward business. When I was young I’d shovel snow, deliver papers, mow lawns. I’ve always been passionate and curious about business.

Skip: I wanted to be a kid! I liked being a kid. But actually, I wanted to be a hockey player. I looked up to the players and the coaches that worked together as a cohesive unit. I loved the environment: I could see the passion everyone had for the game and it motivated us all to work hard.

Tell us about your time before Merchants.

Dan: I’ve been with Merchants since 2014, but I have almost 30 years of business banking experience, which include years as a community bank president before I became the President of the Central Region for Merchants.

Andrew: I started at Merchants in 2017, but before that, I had been in the banking industry for 11 years. Prior to my time in banking, I spent 15 years in sales management with US Foods.

Skip: I started at Merchants in December of 2006. Before that, I worked in the banking industry in Duluth, Minnesota for almost 30 years where I held a variety of positions. While I was a commercial banker I worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Do you have a favorite quote?

Dan: I have a couple:

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

“Only those who dare to fail greatly are those that will achieve greatly.” – Robert Kennedy

At the executive level, we make decisions that have the potential to fail. But we need to be comfortable making decisions that will help us continue to grow and get to the next level.

Andrew: “Overachievers hate mediocre people, and mediocre people hate overachievers.”  –  Nick Saban

I do believe in having a balanced approach to perfection: don’t settle, we can always improve, but it’s also necessary to take a moment to celebrate the successes.

Skip: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” – John Wooden

For me, preparation is one of my strengths and one of the aspects I focus on in my leadership style.

What does “leadership” mean to you?

Dan: A leader is someone who has patience, listens, is kind and humble, motivates their team to work hard toward a common goal and puts their needs before his or her own.

I’ve found that one of the most important things a leader does is listen. Truly listen and understand your employees, your customers. That empathy is what builds trust, and trust is one of the most important things in any relationship.

Andrew: Leadership is complex, it’s more advanced than being a manager. It’s someone who is fair, encouraging and supportive of their team. It’s someone that others gravitate toward.

The true mark of a strong leader is someone who maintains these qualities even when times are tough. It’s easy to be at the top of your game when everything is smooth-sailing, but when it’s time to navigate rough waters, a leader will remain calm, kind and make fair, educated decisions.

Skip: There are many different styles of leadership, and no one could ever know everything about leadership.

To be a leader, find out what your strengths are and how they help others, play to those, and never stop learning and evolving.


Our commitment to community banking starts with our Executive Leadership Team. The Team pursues continued company success by focusing on our foundation of building community through banking and our Merchants Bank mission and core values . Our Executive Team, which includes our Regional Presidents, works with our Market Presidents, Managers and all branch staff every day to ensure our customers come first.

Watch our video series to get to know our Executive Team.