“10 Days of Giving” at 207,898 Pounds for 2017

Final totals for the “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive through the end of the day Thursday were at 207,898 pounds of food. The “10 Days of Giving” supports the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services.

“As someone new to the ‘10 Days of Giving,’ it was inspiring to see the community come together to help their neighbors who needed their support,” said Merchants Bank Winona and Southern Regions President Andrew Guzzo.

Business, school, church and daycare pickups were Monday and Tuesday and some additional contributions were received on Wednesday and Thursday.

“The community has come through again and shown its generosity,” said Jen Welch, one of this year’s co-chairs for Merchants Bank. “We are truly thankful for the great work of all of our volunteers who have helped to make the food drive a success.”

The 2017 total breaks down to $93,673 in cash and 20,552 pounds of food. For the purposes of the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar. Last year’s total was 206,050 pounds. The total for 29 years now stands at 3,253,363 pounds.

“Our goal each year is to make sure no one in Winona County goes hungry this winter, and the work of the people in the area has helped make our way toward that goal,” Welch said.

Merchants collected nonperishable food items at its locations as well as at participating businesses, schools, churches and daycares around the area. A list of participating businesses, schools, churches and daycares is at www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving.

“10 Days of Giving” Food Drive Reports 75,526 Pounds of Food Collected

10daysofgivingblog

Through Tuesday, Merchants Bank’s 29th annual “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive was at 75,526 pounds of food collected to benefit the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services (WVS).

The number of pounds of food collected included $37,214 in cash and 1,108  pounds of food. Included in the amount was a $10,000 anonymous donation. Through the same time last year, 97,036 pounds of food had been collected. Two pounds of food are counted for each dollar collected. WVS Executive Director Sandra Burke pointed out at the food drive’s opening news conference that WVS can purchase $3 to $3.50 of food for each dollar it receives.

“Despite the warm weather early in the drive, people are in the holiday giving mood,” said Jennifer Welch of Merchants Bank, one of this year’s co-chairs. “We are thankful for all of their donations.”

Last year, 206,050 pounds of food was collected. The drive started this year with 3,045,465 pounds collected through its first 28 years. More events are scheduled throughout the week, including the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, which is scheduled to be at the Winona Amtrak Station at 4 p.m. Friday. Merchants Bank will be serving refreshments during the stop. The popular Winter Wonderland Department 56 Snow Village is open to 4-7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 64 E. 4th Street.

“If you haven’t been to the Snow Village, it is one of those displays you don’t want to miss,” Welch said. “The Holiday Train is also great entertainment for the whole family.”

Merchants will be collecting nonperishable food items at its locations as well as at schools and participating businesses around the area. A list of participating schools and businesses is at www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving. Monetary donations can be made out to “10 Days of Giving”and can be mailed to, or dropped off at Merchants Bank, 102 E. 3rd Street, Winona, MN 55987. If you would like to make a donation online, you can go directly to the Winona Volunteer Services website: http://www.winonavs.org. Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name.

Arlene Schwerzler Joins Merchants Bank in Red Wing as a Mortgage Lender

Arlene Schwerzler, Mortgage Lender

Arlene Schwerzler has joined Merchants Bank in Red Wing as a Vice President and Mortgage Lender, according to Mike Grove, President of Merchants Bank in Red Wing.

Schwerzler is a familiar name and face to the Merchants Bank employees and many customers in Red Wing. As a long-time mortgage lender at Merchants Bank in Winona, Schwerzler served many customers in Red Wing.

“Many of my customers already live in Red Wing, and I’m lucky to have a strong referral network,” Schwerzler said. “I look forward to being in Red Wing every day and taking care of mortgages for my customers, the people referred to me and many new customers from start to finish.”

Schwerzler has been in banking for more than 30 years. She started as a Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank in Winona in 1998 and also spent a short amount of time at Merchants Bank in Rochester. She has a loyal following.

“Certainly, Arlene has a great amount of experience and that helps to serve her customers, but what makes her stand apart from other lenders is her willingness to go the extra mile and to be there whenever her customers have questions,” Grove said. “Buying a home can be stressful, but Arlene takes that stress away.”

Merchants Bank offer a full-range of home mortgage products and is well known as a leader in the mortgage industry because of its commitment to integrity and service to its customers, making sure they are taken care of throughout the process. Another of Merchants Bank’s strengths is that it services its loans, which means that questions are answered by a Merchants Bank employee who lives in the area. Currently, Merchants Bank services more than $2.6 billion in home mortgage loans.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Minnesota locations in Red Wing, Cannon Falls, Hampton, Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Rushford, Lanesboro, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. Merchants Bank was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to approval. Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, the company’s leasing arm, is based in the Twin Cities.

Merchants Bank Money Ball in Rushford is Back for 6 More Games in 2017-2018

MoneyballBlog

Merchants Bank’s Money Ball will be coming back for a fourth year in 2017-2018 with three boys’and three girls’ basketball games, according to Kari Johnson of Merchants Bank in Rushford.

Last year students received $1,180 in Money Ball payouts and the Rushford-Peterson Booster Club also received a matching payout of $1,180. That brings the total payout to $4,840 over the first three years of Merchants Bank’s Money Ball, with students and the booster club each receiving $2,420.

“The crowd really gets into pulling for the students, and it’s great that the booster club can benefit.” Johnson said. “It’s really a win for everyone.”

Student halftime participants are broken into two groups –5th grade and younger and 6th grade and older. Participants have to register and are drawn randomly. Three participants, 5th grade and under, have 30 seconds to make shots, earning $5 for a made lay-up, $10 for a free throw, and $25 for a 3-pointer. Another three participants, 6th grade and over, also have 30 seconds, earning $10 for a made free throw, $25 for a 3-pointer and $100 for a half-court shot.

This year, the home games are:

Boys’ Games:

  • 12/7 vs. Spring Grove
  • 1/23 vs. St. Charles
  • 2/16 vs. La Crescent

Girls’ Games:

  • 12/5 vs. Caledonia
  • 1/2   vs. Lanesboro
  • 1/25 vs. Winona Cotter

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Minnesota locations in Rushford, Lanesboro, Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. Merchants Bank was founded in 1875. All banks are FDIC members. Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, the company’s leasing arm, is based in the Twin Cities.

No customer relationship is necessary to enter or win. Merchants Bank employees and family members are not eligible to enter or win.

22nd Annual Christmas Wonderland Parade of Lights is December 9

Merchants Bank in Rushford is proud to present the 22nd Annual Christmas Wonderland Parade of Lights at 7 p.m., December 9.

Merchants Bank is inviting individuals and businesses to be in the parade. If interested, all you need to do is to call (507) 864-7744.

It’s a great night for family fun for area residents. It begins with the Parade of Lights, and is followed by visits with Santa, cookies, hot chocolate and cider at the Rushford Fire Hall.

Monetary donations are encouraged to the SEMCAC food shelf. Donations can be dropped off at the Rushford Fire Hall the night of the parade, or mailed to SEMCAC, P.O. Box 549, Rushford, MN 55971.

Merchants Bank’s Money Ball in Apple Valley is Back for its Fifth Year with 12 Games in 2017-2018

MoneyballBlog

Merchants Bank’s Money Ball is back for its fifth year, with Apple Valley students having the opportunity to participate in the halftime event 12 times during the Apple Valley boys’varsity basketball season, according to Brian Wester, who coordinates Money Ball for Merchants Bank.

Last year, Apple Valley School District students won $2,670, which Merchants matched and gave the Apple Valley Basketball Club another check for $2,670. To date, Merchants has distributed more than $15,000 to the students and the booster club.

“It’s always fun for the students and for the fans,” Wester said. “Plus, we’re happy the booster club can benefit from our efforts.”

Apple Valley School District students can sign up before each game and then two students are chosen at random to participate. Each student gets one minute to make a lay-up, free throw and then a half-court shot. The student wins $10 Chipotle gift card for a made lay-up, a $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card for a made free throw and $100 or more for a made half-court shot. If the half-court shot isn’t made, the money rolls over and is added to the next home game.

The full schedule for the year is as follows:

  • Dec. 5   Robbinsdale Armstrong
  • Dec. 7  Minnehaha Academy – ESPN game
  • Dec. 15   Saint Thomas Academy
  • Jan. 9   Lakeville North
  • Jan. 23  Lakeville South
  • Jan. 26  Farmington
  • Jan. 30 Eagan
  • Feb. 5  Burnsville
  • Feb. 9  Shakopee
  • Feb. 16  Rosemount
  • Feb. 20  Prior Lake
  • March 2  Eastview

Merchants Bank Twin Cities locations include Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. In total there are 21 Merchants Bank community banking locations in Southeastern Minnesota and West-Central Wisconsin, including Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton.  Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

No customer relationship is necessary to enter or win. Merchants Bank employees and family members are not eligible to enter or win.

Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove Launches Ninth “10 Days of Giving”

10daysofgivingblog

Merchants Bank is launching its ninth annual “10 Days of Giving” event in Cottage Grove to help those in need who utilize the Friends in Need Food Shelf. The event runs December 1-10.

Randy Bachman

Randy Bachman, Branch Manager in Cottage Grove

“Our goal as a Bank is to help the Friends in Need Food Shelf meet its goals to help people throughout our area,” said Randy Bachman, Branch Manager of Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove.

Last year, the “10 Days of Giving” helped to collect 15,006 items and $381 in cash donations for the Friends in Need Food Shelf. People are asked to bring toiletries and monetary donations to Merchants Bank’s at 8479 East Point Douglas Road S. Checks can be made out to the “10 Days of Giving.”

Donations can also be made at the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stop, near the Sieben Bridge, in front of the Youth Service Bureau, at 5:15 p.m. December 9.

“We encourage everyone in the area to attend to enjoy the music and drop off items for the Friends in Need Food Shelf,” Bachman said.

Donations can also be made at these participating schools and school district locations: Armstrong Elementary, Cottage Grove Elementary, Cottage Grove Middle School, Crestview Elementary/Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion, District Service Center ISD 833, East Ridge High School, Grey Cloud Elementary, Hillside Elementary, Park High School, Pine Hill Elementary, Pullman Elementary, South Washington Alternative High School and the Transportation Department ISD 833.

This year Merchants will be working with Woodbury schools collecting donations and items for the Christian Covered Emergency Food Shelf (CCEFS). It will be the first year for the “10 Days of Giving” in the Woodbury schools.