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.