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.