Merchants’ Solid Earnings Report Allows for Dividend Declaration

Greg Evans, President & CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) has announced financial results for the third quarter and a forthcoming dividend payment to shareholders, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

As a result of solid earnings performance, the MFGI Board of Directors authorized retention of a semiannual dividend of 75 cents per share to shareholders during its October meeting. Dividends will be paid in December to shareholders of record as of November 20, 2020.

“Despite economic challenges, Merchants’ reputation as a trusted advisor for families, businesses and community partners has resulted in steady earnings for the third quarter. Our top priority remains working with customers and in our communities to be a resource of assistance and support during these difficult times,” said Evans.

Earnings through the third quarter were $14,717,981, which were $821,640 ahead of MFGI’s 2020 plan and $250,000 ahead of 2019 third-quarter performance. Quarterly earnings were profitable for MFGI even though the Company reversed $3.2 million out of income in the form of additional Allowance for Loan/Lease Loss Reserves as a precautionary measure due to possible future economic uncertainties.

MFGI’s residential mortgage lending operation continues to be the main driver of positive earnings results, with origination volume of $713.6 million and a net income contribution $6.97 million ahead of plan through the first three quarters. In addition, deposit growth continues to be strong, with year-over-year growth of 28% for total deposits of $2.3 billion.

In September, Merchants also participated in the Minnesota Bankers Association’s Community Impact Month initiative with more than half of the Company’s Minnesota locations coordinating community support events. From highway clean ups and free document shredding to a clothing drive, locations selected the efforts that had specific benefits to their local communities. While community support is a Merchants’ focus year-round, it was a privilege to highlight these specific events during the month.

The ownership of Merchants Financial Group, Inc. 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 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.5 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Member FDIC.

Kaleb Storm Promoted to Assistant Vice President/Commercial & Ag Banker at Merchants Bank

Kaleb Storm, AVP/Commercial & Ag Banker

Kaleb Storm has been promoted to Assistant Vice President/Commercial & Ag Banker at Merchants Bank, according to Steve Christopherson, Senior Vice President & Commercial Banking Manager.

“Kaleb has really earned this position. He has shown strong leadership skills, an understanding of our community and has been instrumental in our customers’ success as they grow,” said Christopherson.

Storm has been with Merchants as a Commercial & Ag Banker since April 2018. Since coming to Merchants, Storm has served Winona in more ways than financing local businesses. He also contributes his time to the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce both as an Ambassador as well as serving on the Agri-Business Committee, teaching Junior Achievement classes for area schools and with community-focused causes like 10 Days of Giving.

“It has been a privilege to serve the Winona community. I’m very fortunate to work with our wonderful customers and this incredible team. I look forward to continuing to be a trusted advisor and resource for businesses as we all work toward economic recovery,” said Storm.

The Merchants Bank Commercial Lending team is comprised of more than 40 local experts, available throughout our regional footprint. In addition to traditional commercial loans, Merchants bankers specialize in ag banking, SBA loans, floor plan financing and equipment lease financing. As a regional banking leader, Merchants can assist businesses of any size with their business financing needs, including Treasury Management and deposit services.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.5 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to credit approval.

Amanda King Promoted to Assistant Controller at Merchants Bank

Amanda King, Assistant Controller

Amanda King has been promoted to Assistant Controller at Merchants Bank, according to Sue Savat, Chief Financial Officer.

“Amanda is a cornerstone of the Finance team and continues to grow in her role as our company grows. This promotion is a reflection of her expertise and dedication to serving our staff just as we would a Merchants Bank customer,” said Savat.

King has been with Merchants Bank for more than two decades, beginning her career as a Teller in 1998. She joined the Finance Department in 2002 as a Reports Specialist and over the last 18 years she has been promoted to Accounting Specialist and most recently Senior Accounting Specialist.

“I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to grow in my career over last 20 years at Merchants. We have a wonderful team and I enjoy supporting them, so they can support our customers,” King.

Amanda lives in Caledonia on a farm with her husband, Luke, and their four daughters, Jovial, Regan, Kensey and Bayla.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.5 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875.

Rachel Larson Promoted to Manager of Collections at Merchants Bank

Rachel Larson. Manager of Collections

Rachel Larson has been promoted to Manager of Collections at Merchants Bank, according to Mark McGrory, Chief Credit Officer.

“Rachel is the perfect fit to lead our Collections team. Not only does she understand the risk management side of our business, but as a 20-year veteran on the Merchants Bank team she knows our culture and understands that taking care of our customers is what makes Merchants Bank a great community bank,” said McGrory.

Larson has been with Merchants Bank since 1999 and as an integral part of the Bank’s Audit/Compliance team for the past 16 years, most recently as a Risk Management Officer. Larson also graduated from Merchants’ home-grown leadership program, the I Believe Leadership Series, in 2019.

In her new role as Manager of Collections, she will work with individual loan customers who are experiencing financial hardship and help them with an appropriate workout plan. As an area that affects the overall credit quality of the Bank, Larson and the Collections team will help maintain the asset quality of the Bank by finding workable solution for these customers.

“This new role provides me with the opportunity to interact with customers in a much more personal way and provide the caring service approach that’s in alignment with the Merchants culture. I’m looking forward to assisting customers as possible with solutions for their individual needs,” Larson.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.5 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875.