Jerad Brown Promoted To Commercial/Ag Banking Officer


Jerad Brown has been promoted to Commercial/Ag Banking Officer according to Ken Graner, Market President for Merchants Bank in Lanesboro and Rushford.

“Jerad goes above and beyond to build personal relationships with his ag and business customers. It’s important to him to understand the unique aspects of each business or farming operation so he can recommend financing solutions that make sense and help the business reach their goals,” said Graner.

Brown has been in the banking industry since 2015 and began his career as a credit analyst. In 2017, he joined Merchants Bank in Lanesboro and Rushford as a Commercial and Ag Banker. He has a degree in Agricultural Science from South Dakota State University. Brown is a Rushford native and graduated from Rushford-Peterson High School.

“Getting to know my customers and visit their operations is the best part of my job. I like working with my friends and neighbors and knowing that I’m making a positive impact on our local economy,” noted Brown.

Since 2013, Merchants Bank has been a community partner in Rushford and Lanesboro, helping individuals and businesses achieve their financial goals. With an expertise in personal and business deposit account solutions and business and ag financing, Merchants has been fortunate to have a hand in growing the local economy. In addition to traditional banking services, the Bank also offers a full line of business loan, lease and floor plan finance solutions, digital banking, security apps, treasury management tools and wealth management services.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 bank locations and one loan production office in southeastern Minnesota and two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank has more than $2 billion in assets and was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to credit approval.

Jennifer Welch, Dawn Stenberg Named 10 Days of Giving Co-Chairs


Jennifer Welch and Dawn Stenberg have again been named co-chairs for Merchants Bank’s 2019 10 Days of Giving food drive, which runs December 1-10. The effort, which benefits food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services (WVS), will be celebrating its 31st year. To date, more than 3.5 million pounds of food have been collected.

“It is a privilege for Merchants Bank to once again coordinate this effort on behalf of Winona Volunteer Services.  We are thankful for the generosity of the Winona community over the last 30 years in supporting this annual campaign,”said Regional President Andrew Guzzo.

Last year’s campaign featured a variety of events in the Winona community, including fundraising days at local restaurants, the Holiday Lighted Parade, the Holiday Concert for the Hungry and the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. The campaign raised 254,075 pounds of food for WVS. It was the campaign’s second-highest total in its 30-year history.

“It is a very real need that our friends and neighbors in our community have for the support that WVS provides. It is an honor to be a co-chair for this beneficial campaign and we have an incredible team and community that makes this event a success,” Welch said. Welch is a Treasury Management Specialist as well as the Bank’s Events and Adventures Coordinator. She is serving her sixth year as co-chair.

There continues to be a need in the area. Through the end of 2018, an average number of 751 households were registered for the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services and more than 3,000 individuals were served. Another 1,132 people were helped at the Emergency food shelf. Last year WVS distributed 499,272 pounds of food. Additionally, 393 elementary students received healthy weekend snacks during the 2018-19 school year.

“I am thrilled to be back again as a co-chair for 10 Days of Giving,” Stenberg said, a Mortgage Lender and in her second year serving as co-chair. “It’s wonderful to see community members come out to support WVS and their mission to help our neighbors in their times of need.”

As in the past, Merchants will be collecting at its locations as well as at schools and participating businesses around the area. For questions, please call Dawn Stenberg at (507) 457-1109 or Jennifer Welch at (507) 457-1108. Monetary donations can be made out to 10 Days of Giving and mailed to, or dropped off at Merchants Bank, 102 E. 3rd Street, Winona, MN 55987. If you would like to make a donation online, visit the Winona Volunteer Services website: Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name.

The 10 Days of Giving food drive is an annual community collaboration between Merchants Bank and Winona Volunteer Services to make sure no one in Winona County goes hungry each winter. Since 1989, the drive has collected more than 3,000,000 pounds of food and helped thousands of people in Winona County. In addition to the Winona drive, other Merchants Bank locations partner with their respective local food shelf in a similar effort. To learn more about the 10 Days of Giving in your area, visit

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Announces Earnings of $14,460,000 through Third Quarter of 2019, Pays 75 Cents Per Share Dividend

Greg Evans, President & CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI), the parent Company for Merchants Bank, N.A., and the First National Bank of Northfield, announced net income through the third quarter of $14,460,000 according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

“The community banking profession is one of the most rewarding, especially when we’re able to support our communities and serve local businesses and individuals by being a strong, stable financial institution,” said Evans. “Our strong earnings performance so far in 2019 enables us to do just that.”

As a result of continued profitable performance, the MFGI Board of Directors authorized a semiannual dividend of 75 cents per share to shareholders during its October meeting, a 7.1% increase from the June dividend payment. Dividends will be paid in December to shareholders of record as of November 22.

Net income is ahead of MFGI’s plan for 2019 by $2.64 million and $673,000 above 2018 earnings. Contributing to the overall positive third quarter performance, each of Merchants Bank’s four regions and its Secondary Market Mortgage division exceeded their 2019 third quarter plans. MFGI also made significant strategic progress in the third quarter, including closing on the purchase of the First National Bank of Northfield on August 30.

“A definite highlight of our third quarter was the addition of First National Bank. Our team at Merchants has now been bolstered by an incredible team in Northfield and we’re proud to have them officially under the Merchants umbrella,” said Evans.

Merchants is proud to continue its tradition of community leadership through charitable contributions and employee volunteerism. Through September, MFGI donated to 413 local organizations and its employees have volunteered more than 12,000 hours to local communities.

The ownership of Merchants Financial Group is made up of its nearly 500 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 19 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. The acquisition of the First National Bank brought an additional two banking offices in Northfield and a loan production office in Bloomington, MN. Headquartered in Winona, MN, Merchants Financial Group, Inc. now has more than $2 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Member FDIC.

Adrian A. Quilling Promoted To Mortgage Lender

Adrian Quilling, Mortgage Lender

Adrian A. Quilling has been promoted to Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank in Rosemount, according to Michelle Selig, Branch Manager.

“Adrian already has a background in home loans and loves helping our customers, especially during important life stages. His new role as a Mortgage Lender will be a great fit for him and a benefit to those looking to buy or build homes in the Rosemount area,” said Selig.

Quilling has been with Merchants Bank since 2018 when he started as a Customer Service Representative and Lending Assistant. Prior to joining Merchants, he was a Universal Banker at Old National Bank (formerly Anchor Bank) and has experience in personal banking and lending, including deposit accounts, mortgages and personal loans.

“I’m excited to now be a complete financial partner for individuals and families – whether it’s showing them the right tools and accounts to meet personal savings goals or guiding them through the home loan process,” said Quilling.

You can get to know more about Quilling on the Merchants Bank website by visiting

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 bank locations and one loan production office in southeastern Minnesota and two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank has more than $2 billion in assets and was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to credit approval.


Congratulations, New and Promoted Staff


We are happy to have these new employees on our team! If you’re interested in working with these local experts, find your branch.

New Staff

Claire Anderson Claire Anderson, Teller, Apple Valley
Ellen Brand Ellen Brand, Trust Operations Assistant, Winona
Patti Bryant Patti Bryant, Teller, Cottage Grove
Cindy Carlson Cindy Carlson, Custodian, Rushford
Cole Greden Cole Greden, Junior Credit Analyst, Winona
Rachel Harder Rachel Harder, Teller, Caledonia
Rachel Henke Rachel Henke, Mortgage Relationship Coordinator, Winona
Cassidy Hilton Cassidy Hilton, Teller, Winona
Robin Jandt  Robin Jandt, Teller, Winona
Rick Jaacks  Rick Jaacks, Commercial Banker, Winona
Anita Kalmes Anita Kalmes, Custodian, Winona
Zach Kasen  Zach Kasen, Teller, Winona
Austin Kennedy  Austin Kennedy, Teller, Onalaska
J.R. Larkie  J.R. Larkie, Treasury Management Sales Support, Winona
Terri Matelski Terri Matelski, Loan Servicing Representative, Winona
Kim Quilling Kim Quilling, Documentation Transaction Associate, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance
Conor Salmonson Conor Salmonson, Teller, Cannon Falls
Sierra Singer Sierra Singer, Loan Servicing Representative, Winona
Jennifer Tiedeman  Jennifer Tiedemann, Lending Assistant Team Lead, Onalaska

Transfers and Promotions

Randy Bachman Randy Bachman, Consumer & Commercial Lending Officer, Cottage Grove
Danae Forman Danae Forman, Lead Teller, La Crescent
Jenna Hartman Jenna Hartman, Underwriting Officer, Winona
Cindy Palubicki Cindy Palubicki, Lead Teller, Winona
Julia Patek Julia Patek, Customer Service Representative, La Crescent
Adrian Quilling Adrian Quilling, Mortgage Lender, Rosemount
Lucas Stangl Lucas Stangl, Treasury Management Sales Support Lead, Winona
Nathan Wick Nathan Wick, Credit Card Assistant, Winona


Meet Beth Ede, Chief Human Resources Officer: What to consider in your job search

Beth Ede

What are some things people should look for in an employer?

One of the most important things to consider is how the company’s culture and values align with yours. Working for an organization is about so much more than just the hours you put in each day – it should be a reflection of what’s important to you as well. You should feel that you and the organization stand for the same things – which will hopefully lead to a productive, enjoyable, and lasting relationship for both of you.

It’s also important to inquire and understand the organization’s focus on individual growth and development as well as recognition.

What makes someone stand out as a job candidate?

Candidates can stand out in many ways but remember you have to make a good first impression. This first impression could be your resume or your application speaking for you – be sure it is complete, concise, and grammatically correct. If you receive any communication from a potential employer through email, phone message, etc., be prompt and professional in your response.

Best tip you have for someone who’s job hunting?

My best tip for someone who is looking for a new opportunity is look for a great employer.

Look for an organization whose culture aligns with your values. Even if that employer doesn’t have the exact position you are looking for available at that time, let them know you are interested in being part of their team. You may also choose to apply for a position you are qualified for at the time, even if it isn’t quite the one you really aspire to. Remember, a successful employer will have a strong focus on the growth and development of their people.

How can workers avoid “burnout”?

It’s important to find an employer that truly cares about you and your wellness. You also need to find a good balance in all that you do – from work to play activities as well as rest and proper nutrition. All of these aspects of life are connected – when we are stressed we don’t sleep as well, we don’t pay as much, attention to our diet and exercise falls to the wayside, and we create a vicious cycle. Find a healthy balance that works for you; we are all different.

What drew you to Merchants Bank?

It truly was the alignment of values, new learning opportunities and culture. I had always heard great stories from my amazing predecessor Alberta, but now I’m living it – and loving it. The people at Merchants are true professionals working hard to make this organization great while helping each other enjoy what they do day in and day out.

What do you like most about your job?

I love all the new learning – from the business of banking, to the due diligence of an acquisition, to the development and growth of the individuals. It’s so rewarding to see people happy in what they do each day.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I thrive on staying busy even when I’m not I spend lots of time with family and friends and enjoy baking, escaping to our “glamper” on a small lake a couple hours away, riding bicycle, boating and fishing, and traveling. In the winter we look forward to an annual visit to either Texas or Arizona.

Do you have a favorite quote?

I try and live by this each day:

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

I do also have a favorite that aligns with my values:

“The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity. Choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity – these are the choices that measure your life. Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.”

Banking Through Your Ages: Do you (and your children) have the right bank accounts?

Multigenerational Family

It’s no secret that smart money management is important: whether for a home, you child’s future, retirement, or the trip of a lifetime. Maybe you’re even trying to save for all of those! Are you confident that you have the right bank accounts to help you reach your financial goals?

Whatever your financial goals, at whatever age, it’s helpful to regularly evaluate your financial situation, considering your income, current expenses, short and long-term savings goals. With so many account options, it’s hard to know if your accounts are truly working for you and your goals, and it never hurts to consider potentially more profitable or flexible options. Consider having these accounts for yourself and your children:

For Children

  • Savings Account – You want your children to be prepared for their future. Make sure your child is set up with an account that will give them access to financial savings when they need it. Some features to look for are:
    • A higher interest rate
    • Automatic deposits – a “set it and forget it” approach makes saving super easy. You can rest easy knowing you’re saving for your child’s future in your sleep! 

For Teens

  • Savings Account – Hopefully you’re still helping your teenager save, but maybe they’re beginning to for themselves as well – if they have a job, encouraging them to save a good portion of their paycheck can help teach them crucial financial management skills.

Having a savings account at this age is important not only for practicing money management, but also because their money will stay safer in an account not linked to a debit card or online retailers. It’s also likely they’ll need to tap into their savings account in the future, for larger purchases like their first car or a security deposit for their first apartment.

From A Banker: “When my son started his first job in high school, we had him put half of every paycheck into his savings account. He wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but we reminded him that there was something he wanted to be saving for, he could eventually transfer some money back into his checking account.” – Dana Christensen, Customer Service Representative in Winona

  • Checking Account – After they save, then they can play! A checking account makes sense to accommodate a teenager’s social life, as well as continuing to teach them about healthy spending habits. They’ll also have access to a debit card, and online and mobile banking. This will help them learn about essential banking practices such as checking balances, reviewing your transactions and transfer funds between accounts.

In Your 20s

  • Savings Account – Maybe seeing if you can upgrade a basic account to one with a higher interest rate or other benefits.
    • It’s a good idea to have a savings account specifically for emergencies, for unexpected expenses like car maintenance or house maintenance.

From A Banker: “I wish we would have started saving for surprise expenses earlier. When you’re young and your transmission goes out on your car, you might not have a lot of options. Ideally, we would have had an emergency fund.” – Gary Johnson, Consumer Lending Officer in Red Wing

  • Checking Account – Maybe seeing if you can upgrade a basic account to one with a higher interest rate or other benefits. For example, our Relationship Checking account earns interest and features discounts on some of our other products and services.
  • 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) – Something to think about is whether your job offers any retirement plan or matches retirement contributions. If your employer has any sort of retirement plan, start with that as soon as possible. If they don’t, open your own IRA and make consistent contributions.

From A Banker: “The best thing you can do is start saving for retirement early. Event if it’s just a little bit at first, the earlier you start the better off you’ll be later.” – Holly Gronholz, Customer Service Representative in Rochester

  • Bonus: A Certificate of Deposit (CD) is another way of structuring a savings strategy. They generally offer higher interest rates on your money for a designated period of time. You are guaranteed to make that fixed rate on your money during the CD term. A CD is great for saving for a large upcoming expense, such as a down payment on a house. You may benefit from a CD if you:
  • Have a chunk of money that you can leave untouched to grow for a longer period of time, without withdrawing, which would most likely result in a large fee.
    • Are looking for a higher interest rate (compared to some other accounts) to increase earnings.

From A Banker: “I wish I would have opened a CD earlier so I could still be earning interest on those funds today. Having a portion of your money earning interest for a longer period of time can lead to bigger gains later.” – Kally Whalen, Customer Service Representative in St. Charles

  • Bonus: Short-Term Goal Savings Account: If you’re thinking about starting to save for a larger expense, maybe for a wedding or a dream travel experience, a short-term goal savings account like our Summer or Winter FUNd might be the right option.

From a Banker: “I wish I would have started a Summer FUNd even though I didn’t know what it specifically was for. I would have had nice sum of money saved up instead of scrambling to finance a spur of the moment adventure! But this year I know what my Summer FUNd is for: My daughter’s wedding for next summer!” – Laryssa Hanson, Personal Banker in Lanesboro

In Your 30s

By this time, hopefully you have established all of the above. But remember, if not, it’s never too late! There are still a couple other things to consider doing to up your financial management game:

  • Upgrading a basic savings account to a Diamond Money Market.
    • If you’re keeping a higher balance in a basic, low-benefit account, you could upgrade that account to one that will earn a higher interest rate and waive maintenance fees.
  • Maybe having separate accounts for specific purposes:
    • Perhaps a checking account just for paying bills
    • A checking account for spending money
    • Maybe a joint checking account for you and your spouse for shared expenses
  • A Health Savings Account (HSA) – An HSA can have tax benefits and is ideal for preparing for medical expenses, including prescriptions and procedures. Refer to IRS Publication 502, which outlines what services HSA contributions can be used to pay for. This publication can be found on You should consult your tax advisor regarding HSA details.
    • Among other qualifications, you need a high deductible health plan in order to have an HSA.
    • For more information about HSAs, read about how an HSA can benefit you.

In Your 40s

By this point, you probably have some combination of all of the above. Now it may be a good idea to consider some financial planning efforts with wealth management experts.

In Your 50s

Along with your own variety of deposit accounts, ideally you’ll also have a financial plan unique to your goals with a wealth management expert.

And remember at 59 1/2, you can start reaping the benefits of your IRA and have some added flexibility in your HSA.

As you transition into retirement, it’s a good idea to keep the basic accounts:

  • A Checking Account to manage retirement distributions and spending.
  • A Savings Account because surprises can happen at any point in life.


Not sure where you stand? We can help!

As you evolve, so do your banking needs, hence the wide variety of options. It’s a good idea to review your financial situation at least on an annual basis. If it all seems a little overwhelming, we can help.

If you’re interested in learning more or opening a one of these accounts, contact your local Customer Service Representative. If you’re looking for help creating a complete financial plan, visit with one of our Wealth Management experts.