Merchants Financial Group, Inc., Announces Dividend increase resulting from strong First Quarter Earnings

Greg Evans, President & CEO

WINONA, Minn. – Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced first quarter net income of just over $9,666,000 according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

As a result of the strong earnings performance, the MFGI Board of Directors authorized a semiannual dividend increase from $.75 to $.80 cents per share to shareholders during its quarterly April meeting. Dividends will be paid in June to shareholders of record as of May 21, 2021.

“I remain very proud of the efforts of our entire team and the ability to adapt to the ever-changing economic environment,” said Evans. “We continue to be intensely focused on meeting the unique needs of customers at what continues to be an unsettled economic time.” 

Net income is $4.2 million ahead of MFGI’s plan for 2021 and nearly $5.8 million ahead of 2020 performance, which was impacted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic during the March timeframe.  The large drivers of Merchants performance continue to be strong residential mortgage lending volume ($233 million in loans in the first quarter) and the Bank’s commitment to origination of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the Small Business Administration. Approximately 65% of the Bank’s PPP loans that were originated in 2020 had been completely through the forgiveness process by the end of the first quarter, and the Bank has originated an additional $74 million of PPP loans during the current round of funding for the program in 2021. 

“Homeowners continued to take advantage of the low interest rate environment for purchasing homes and refinancing existing loans,” noted Evans. “Also, rapid acceleration of PPP loan forgiveness allowed recognition of income from loans generated last year, across all regions of the company.”

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. is a publicly-traded Company. Ownership is made up of its more than 440 employees and mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Merchants Bank is a full-service community bank with 23 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota and 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.

Lucas Stangl Promoted To Treasury Management Support Officer Lead

Lucas Stangl, Treasury Management Support Officer Lead

Winona, Minn. – Lucas Stangl has been promoted to Treasury Management Support Officer Lead at Merchants Bank, according to Kerri Bronk, Vice President/Senior  Operations/eChannel Officer.

“Lucas is a strong leader for our Treasury Management support team. He consistently provides excellent customer service to our business clients and demonstrates a strong work ethic. Because of his strong relationships with our Treasury Management clients he has a deep understanding of their digital banking and security needs and plays a critical role in continually enhancing our processes and offerings,” said Bronk.

Stangl has been in banking for nearly 10 years and joined Merchants in 2013. He led the Merchants Electronic Banking team until 2019. When the department grew, he transitioned to Treasury Management Support Lead for the company to focus solely on the digital needs of the Bank’s commercial treasury clients.

“Merchants Bank is a regional leader in Commercial Banking and continues to make technology investments in Treasury Management services,” said Stangl. “Our customers have access to premium efficiency and security options. Being at the table to develop and design our updated Treasury Management suite has given me the opportunity to be a real advocate for our business customers.”

The Merchants Bank Treasury Management & Commercial Lending team is comprised of more than 40 local experts, available throughout our regional footprint. Merchants’ Treasury Management Specialists help with cash flow strategies, custom account protection tools and effective options for collecting and making payments. As a regional banking leader, Merchants Bank can assist businesses of any size with their business financing needs, including traditional commercial loans, leases and special loan program offerings. Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank has more than $2.5 billion in assets and was founded in 1875. Subject to credit approval.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc Reports Strong Performance and Shareholders Re-elect Three Directors

Greg Evans, President & CEO

WINONA, Minn. – During its annual shareholder meeting, which was held virtually on Thursday, April 8, Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI), reported strong 2020 earnings growth and shareholders re-elected three Directors to the MFGI Board. 

MFGI formally reported net income of $21,511,521 for 2020, an 8.8% increase over 2019 earnings. The year’s results were impacted by the pandemic and resulting economic environment. Most notably, with a dramatic drop in long-term interest rates, Merchants booked unanticipated record residential mortgage loan volume of more than $950 million (a 77% increase over 2019). Year-over-year deposit growth was $376 million (a 21% increase over 2019), and Merchants originated nearly 1,600 Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans with total proceeds of $207 million. MFGI ended 2020 with $2.5 billion in consolidated assets, making Merchants the fourth largest banking organization chartered in the state of Minnesota.

“In our long rich history, never has our banking team been tested and challenged like we were last year,” said Gregory M. Evans, MFGI President & Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud of our continued growth, but even more proud of how hard we worked to serve the unique needs of our customers during a time of significant hardship in every one of our communities. The community banking industry played an important role to facilitate economic stability during a very difficult time and the responsibility that was demonstrated by our team in that regard was rewarding.”

Re-elected to three-year terms as Directors were: Michael F. Cichanowski, Founder and CEO of Wenonah Canoe, Inc; Ann E. Merchlewitz, J.D., Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; and Bruce E. Ryan, Founder and President of Ryan Windows and Siding, Inc.

Additionally, Shareholders were made aware of an upcoming transition in Board leadership. Long-time Merchants Board member Scott K. Biesanz, will be stepping down from his role as Board Chair as part of planned succession that will result in Richard L. “Rick” Lommen taking on the Chair role. Lommen, 54, is President of Courtesy Corporation, an owner-operator of one of the largest McDonald’s franchises in the Midwest. Biesanz, who has served on the Merchants Board since 1988 and as Chair since 2012, will remain active as an MFGI Director for the final year of his current three-year term.  

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. is a publicly-traded Company. Ownership is made up of its more than 440 employees and mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Merchants Bank is a full-service community bank with 23 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota and 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.