Merchants Bank’s Money Ball to be in Cannon Falls and Randolph


After a successful first year in Cannon Falls, Merchants Bank is expanding Money Ball to include Randolph for the 2017-2018 basketball season, according to Jenny Holz of Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls.

“It was popular in Cannon Falls with the students and the school, so we thought we would offer it in Randolph as well,” said Holz, who coordinates Money Ball.

Last year, Merchants gave away a total of $500 to students and $500 to the school to be split evenly between the boy’s and girl’s basketball programs.

To be eligible, students sign up before halftime of the varsity game. Two contestants are then chosen randomly, one from 1st-5th grade and another from 6th-12th grade. Each contestant has a minute to make baskets. The 1st-5th grader wins $5 for a made lay-up, $10 for made free throw, and then if both shots have been made, the student has one chance to win $25 for a made 3-pointer. If a 3-pointer isn’t made, the money rolls over to the next game. The 6th-12th grader wins $10 for a made free throw, $25 for a 3-pointer, and if both shots have been made, the student has one chance to win $100 for a half-court shot. If the half-courter isn’t made, the money rolls over to the next game.

This year’s games will be:

  • Nov. 30 Randolph Girls vs. Kenyon/Wanamingo
  • Jan. 8 Randolph Boys vs. Cleveland
  • Dec. 4 Cannon Falls Girls vs. Schaeffer Academy
  • Feb. 15 Cannon Falls Boys vs. Dover

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Minnesota locations in Cannon Falls, Red Wing, 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. 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.

Merchants Bank in St. Charles Kicks Off 29th Annual “10 Days of Giving” with a $400 Donation to the Hometown Resource Center


Merchants Bank in St. Charles is kicking off its 29th annual “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive, December 1-10 with a $400 donation to the Hometown Resource Center in St. Charles.

Sandra Pasche, Customer Service Representative

Sandra Pasche, Customer Service Representative

“There are many people among us who for whatever reason need our help,” said Merchants Bank’s Sandra Pasche, who is coordinating this year’s drive. “We ask those of us who have the means to consider giving so all of our holidays are better.”

The Hometown Resource Center provides assistance to those in need in the St. Charles area. Students in the St. Charles area will be asked to provide donations of non-perishable food items and monetary donations. Additionally, individuals and businesses in the St. Charles area are being encouraged to make donations. Donations can be placed in barrels Dec. 1-10 (barrels will be picked up Monday, December 11) at these locations:

  • Early Childhood Family Education
  • Merchants Bank
  • Charles Elementary School
  • Charles High School
  • Matthew Community Preschool
  • Charles Day Care

Cash donations are preferred because they allow the Hometown Resource Center to buy the products it needs the most. Monetary donations can be brought or mailed to Merchants Bank in St. Charles, 1130 Whitewater Avenue.

Merchants Bank in Hastings Takes the Lead in the “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive, December 1-10

10daysofgivingblogMerchants Bank in Hastings will once again partner with Hastings Family Service (HFS) and area schools to help those in need during the “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive, December 1-10.

Last year, with help from Merchants Bank, 3,421 pounds of food and $11,190 in monetary donations were collected from students and community members to help Hastings Family Service.

Much of the food is collected during the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train visit to Hastings, scheduled this year for 8:30 p.m., December 8, at the Canadian Pacific Depot, 500 East Second Street.

Bruce Goblirsch, President of Merchants Bank-Hastings

Bruce Goblirsch, President of Merchants Bank-Hastings

“We appreciate all donations, but we want to point out that monetary donations are the most versatile, allowing the food shelf to get what it needs most at any particular time,” said Bruce Goblirsch, President of Merchants Bank in Hastings.

Area residents are encouraged to drop off monetary donations and non-perishable food items for the “10 Days of Giving” at Merchants Bank in Hastings, 1525 Vermillion Street. Checks can be made payable to the “10 Days of Giving.”

Toni Nisbit Promoted to Vice President of Mortgage Operations

Toni Nisbit, Vice President of Mortgage Operations

Toni Nisbit has been promoted to Vice President of Mortgage Operations, according to Cindy Harrison, Senior Vice President of Credit Administration for Merchants Bank.

“Toni’s calm, common sense approach has been much appreciated by those who have interacted with her and will continue to be beneficial as she now leads the entire Mortgage Operations team,” Harrison said.

Nisbit has been serving as the interim leader of this key area for Merchants, and prior to that served as the Underwriting Manager/Assistant Mortgage Operations Manager. She has been with the Merchants’organization since 2001.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue working with my great team and the opportunity to improve on the work we are already doing,”Nisbit said.

Nisbit’s team now includes more than 45 employees. Together they work to support and process mortgage loans for Merchants’21 locations, as well as the 143 other community banking locations and credit unions across five states that make up Merchants Bank’s correspondent mortgage banking network. Merchants has a $2.6 billion loan servicing portfolio.

“I anticipate building our relationships with both our internal and external customers and improving efficiencies to make sure our mortgage closings are done smoother and faster, while still maintaining our accuracy and high level of customer service,” Nisbit said.

Mike Stangl Joins Merchants Bank as a Mortgage Lender and Commercial Banker

Mike Stangl, Mortgage Lender and Commercial Banker

Mike Stangl has joined Merchants Bank as a mortgage lender and commercial banker at the Bank’s La Crescent location, according to Steve Christiansen, Merchants Bank President in La Crescent and Onalaska.

“Mike’s skill set will allow him to provide people in the La Crescent market guidance and support whether they are in need of residential mortgage loans or commercial real estate loans,” Christiansen said, adding that Merchants also recently hired mortgage lender Ashley Harrison to fill the growing need for mortgage lending in the La Crescent area.

Stangl has been working in the La Crosse market as a mortgage lender since 2012. From 2001 to 2012 he was in the Marshfield, WI, market working in banking in a number of roles, including mortgage, consumer, and commercial lending.

“Being a part of the Merchants team will allow me to use my skills in a number of areas to provide the best benefit for the people I’ll serve,” Stangl said. “As a community banker, I’m especially thrilled to be working with an organization that cares about its customers and has the resources to help.”

Stangl is involved in the community, donating his time to a number of organizations, including the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, Coulee Region Humane Society, and the Hunger Task Force.

Welch, Anderson to Again Lead “10 Days of Giving”

Jen Welch and Chad Anderson, 10 Days of Giving Co-Chairs

Jennifer Welch and Chad Anderson are returning as co-chairs for Merchants Bank’s 2017 “10 Days of Giving,” which runs December 1-10.

“We’re excited that Jen and Chad have agreed to lead our employee team again in this very important community event,” said Andrew Guzzo, Regional President.

The event is now in its 29th year of collecting non-perishable food items and monetary donations to benefit the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services. Last year, the “10 Days of Giving” collected 206,050 pounds of food, bringing the 28-year total to 3,045,465 pounds of food. Two pounds of food are calculated for each dollar brought in. The percentage of monetary donations keeps increasing each year.

“Our goal is to make sure that no one in Winona County goes hungry this winter,” said Welch, a Cash Management expert and the Bank’s Events and Adventures Coordinator, who is serving her fourth year as co-chair.

Through the end of 2016, 1,173 households were registered for the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services. Last year, more than 3,324 individuals were served at the food shelf, and another 1,603 people were helped at the Emergency food shelf. Last year 480,145 pounds of food were distributed. Also 264 elementary kids received healthy weekend snacks during the 2015-2016 school year.
“Our employees believe so much in helping those who need help. It is gratifying to see that almost every member of our staff contributes to this event in some way,” said Anderson, a Commercial Banker, who is serving his second year as co-chair.

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 Welch at 457-1108 or Anderson at 457-1196. The “10 Days of Giving” will officially kick off with a press conference at 10 a.m., December 1 at Merchants Bank in downtown Winona. 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: Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name.

Member FDIC.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Announces Earnings of $8.84 million Through the Third Quarter of 2017


Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced net income of $8,841,114 through the first three quarters of 2017, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

Evans said MFGI is enjoying both commercial loan and deposit growth, and mortgage loan volume also continues to be strong.

“Our core business continues to perform very well and drive our profitability,” Evans said. “Our community bankers continue to build our business by providing our customers guidance, convenience and excellent service across all of our locations.”

Net income is behind 2016’s pace, when MFGI had record earnings. Evans said that in alignment with MFGI’s conservative approach, $1.4 million was set aside for additional loan loss reserves in the third quarter. MFGI also made adjustments to loan loss reserves in each of the first two quarters of 2017. To date in 2017, MFGI has put aside more than $3.4 million in loan loss reserves to cushion against possible future loan stress, most notably in the ag sector. Evans said actual loan charge-off activity is negligible.

Evans reported the MFGI Board of Directors approved retaining a 56-cent per share dividend during its October meeting. MFGI stock continues to perform well, trading at $62.35 per share, compared to $48.75 a year ago.

“We are optimistic about the remainder of our year, and we expect continued good results,” Evans said.

MFGI owns 21 Merchants Bank locations, including Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, 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. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

The ownership of Merchants Financial Group is made up of its 440 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.