Merchants Bank in Hastings Launches Ninth 10 Days of Giving

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Merchants 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, 2,747 pounds of food and $16,657.37 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 Sunday, December 9 at 8:30 p.m. at the Canadian Pacific Depot, 500 East Second Street. While all donations are appreciated, monetary support can have a maximum impact with Hastings Family Service being able to purchase 70 pounds of food with just $10.00.

“Each year it is a privilege to work alongside Hastings Family Service to help those in need during the holiday season and beyond,” 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.”

The 10 Days of Giving food drive is an annual community collaboration between Merchants Bank in Hastings and Hastings Family Service to make sure no one in Hastings goes hungry each winter. Since 1999, the drive has collected thousands of pounds of food and helped thousands of people in the area. In addition to the Hastings 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 www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving.

Fraud Alert: Craigslist Scam – Sellers Beware

Craigslist Scam

We’ve recently seen an increase in the Craigslist Scam. This is when a buyer for an item listed online sends a check for more than the asking price of the item. The fraudster will ask the seller to deposit the check and then send the extra money back.

For example, you sell a car on Craigslist for $1,000 and the purchaser sends you a check for $3,000, asking you to send them the remaining $2,000 cash back.

This is a red flag that the check is fraudulent. The fraudster hopes that the fraudulent check will be deposited, and seller will send their legitimate money back. In the past weeks we’ve seen many fraudulent cashier’s checks.

Please be wary of checks for more than the asking price of the item. Should a check be deposited into your account and that check is found to be fraudulent, the amount of that check will be debited from your account.

If you think you’ve been sent a questionable check, visit your nearest Merchants Bank. We can help.

New: Mobile Payments for Merchants Bank Credit Cards

New: Mobile Payments for Merchants Bank Credit Cards

Holiday shopping season is here, and your time and security are more precious than ever.

Did you know our credit cards are compatible with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay? You can enroll our credit card with Apple Pay or Samsung Pay and start making online, in-app and in-store payments faster. It’s even more secure than using the EMV chip!

Here’s how:

  • Simply open your mobile wallet and add a Merchants Bank credit card.
  • The card will be assigned an account number that is securely stored on the mobile device – keeping the card information safe during transactions.
  • Transactions with retailers are verified with unique, one-time-use security codes, making it very difficult for fraudsters to gain access to the card information should those retailers be compromised.

Apple Pay and Samsung Pay also minimize the inconvenience of entering your credit card information online over and over.

Start saving time and protect your finances this holiday season with a Merchants Bank credit card – enroll it today! Click the icon below for step-by-step instructions for your smartphone*:

Apple Pay

Samsung Pay

Any questions? Feel free to contact us.

Credit cards are subject to approval. Data and messaging rates may apply from your wireless carrier.

* You will be linking to another website not owned or operated by Merchants Bank, NA. Merchants Bank, NA is not responsible for the availability or content of this website and does not represent either the linked website or you, should you enter into a transaction. We encourage you to review their privacy and security policies which may differ from Merchants Bank, NA.

Meet Lucas Stangl, Lead Electronic Banking Specialist at Merchants Bank

Lucas Stangl, Lead Electronic Banking Specialist

When did you start your banking career?

Lucas: I started at Wells Fargo in 2011 as a Teller and then became a Teller Manager. When I came to Merchants, I knew I wanted to work for a bank I believed in and one that is there for the community. Electronic Banking is a great fit for me because I like helping our customers solve problems. Plus, there’s a lot of variety with my job, which I really enjoy.

What is your top electronic banking tip?

Lucas: There are a couple of things that can make using Online Banking easier for our customers.

First, when you’re reviewing your accounts online, make sure check the available balance and not the current balance. The available balance is what you actually have available to spend. Sometimes the difference can be confusing, so make sure you’re looking at the right balance before you make a purchase.

When completing online transfers, review the details of the transfer and click the confirm button. If you don’t click confirm, the transfer won’t go through.

Lucas Stangl, Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants, with his two children in Disneyland.

Lucas Stangl, Lead Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants, with his two children in Disneyland.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?

Lucas: Don’t impulse buy. Wait a few days and if you still want that particular item, then go buy it.

If you could ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange with anyone, who would it be and why?

Lucas: My kids. Hazen is twelve and Ada is ten. My wife and I try to teach the importance of experiences and I think that would be a very memorable experience for them.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Lucas: Any golf course. I started golfing when I was five years old and actually worked at a golf course in Pennsylvania for ten years – it was really fun.

You can visit our website for more information about our personal and business online banking.

 

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

 

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

Jennifer Welch and Dawn Stenberg have been named co-chairs for Merchants Bank’s 30th 10 Days of Giving food drive, which runs December 1-10. The effort benefits food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services (WVS), which is celebrating its 45th year. To date, more than 3,000,000 pounds of food have been collected.

“Merchants is proud to coordinate this food drive on behalf of Winona Volunteer Services. We are honored to have led these efforts for 29 years and are looking forward to making our 30th anniversary the most successful year yet,” said Andrew Guzzo, Regional President.

Last year’s campaign partnered with many events around the community, including fundraising days at local restaurants and a variety of entertainment events such as the Holiday Lighted Parade, the Holiday Concert for the Hungry and the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. The campaign raised 207,898 pounds of food for WVS.

“10 Days of Giving brings our generous community together to support a common good. It is an honor to be a co-chair for this worthwhile event and I am so grateful for the incredible team that really makes this campaign happen,” said Welch, a Cash Management expert and the Bank’s Events and Adventures Coordinator, who is serving her fifth year as co-chair.

WVS serves many people in the Winona area. 3,168 unduplicated individuals were served at the food shelf in 2017 and the Emergency Food services helped 1,504 people. Proceeds from 10 Days of Giving also helps WVS run programs such as the Backpack Program – which helped 388 elementary students have healthy snacks during the school year. In 2017 the food shelf distributed 538,081 pounds of food.

“I am truly honored to be a co-chair for this year’s 10 Days of Giving, especially as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the drive,” said Stenberg, a Mortgage Lender, who is serving as co-chair for the first time. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the community to band together to support our neighbors that need the assistance of WVS.”

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 Stenberg at 457-1109. 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: http://www.winonavs.org. 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 3,253,300 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 www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc Announces Earnings of $13,785,285 through Third Quarter of 2018, Pays 70 Cents Per Share Dividend

Greg Evans, President & CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced a net income of $13,785,285 through the first three quarters of 2018 and significantly increased the semiannual dividend paid to Shareholders, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

“Our core earnings continue to be strong, which in the end benefits all of our customers, the communities we serve and our Shareholders,” said Evans. “We are proud to be a safe, strong bank with growth that allows us to contribute to the economic vitality of this specific region, where all of our resource deployment is focused.”

Net income is $3.1 million ahead of MFGI’s plan for 2018 and is an increase of $4.94 million compared to last year. Several Merchants Bank locations and the Merchants Bank Equipment Finance and Mortgage Operations divisions exceeded their respective performance forecasts through three quarters.

During its October meeting, the MFGI Board of Directors approved a dividend of 70 cents per share to shareholders, up from 61 cents per share for the first half of the year. The semiannual dividends paid to Merchants’ Shareholders for 2018 is an increase of 18% compared to a year ago.

“As is always the case, our strong performance has been the result of a total team effort. I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished together and am optimistic about our performance for the remainder of the year,” said Evans.

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.

Merchants Financial Group 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 Homegrown Approach to Leadership Development

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L-R: Alberta Rosburg, Heidi Viestenz, Alissa Gibson, Mike Swanson, Andrew Althoff, Libbie Longfield, Marcus Krings, Vicky Kamrowski, Sarah Danielson, Dawn Stenberg, Sue Blagsvedt, Kim Kubis, Jim Vrchota, Wendy Cagle, Rachel Larson, Ken Graner and Kristine Valk.

We all want a team of talented staff. A business with skilled employees who care deeply about their customers is on the road to success. The people who work for your business can make a big difference. At Merchants, we feel this combination – our talented team coupled with personalized service – is what sets us apart from other financial institutions.

Attracting and retaining difference-makers as part of the Merchants team has always been important to us. We also feel it’s one of the reasons we’ve celebrated so many successes. That’s why we’re proud to have launched the I Believe Leadership Series, Discovering the Leader In You! in 2018. The program was designed by Merchants’ staff Kristine Valk, Training Director and Alberta Rosburg, Chief Human Resource Officer and is based on the philosophy of servant leadership.

“After recognizing that Merchants needed a leadership program, Kristine and I tried to find one that we could send our employees to,” said Alberta. “However, we quickly realized that if we wanted a program to reflect the Merchants’ culture, we needed to develop it ourselves. I’m so proud of Kristine, all of her hard work and the end result. The 15 students currently attending are growing in new ways to help them be servant leaders for our co-workers and customers.”

Students in the I Believe Leadership Series are from several areas of the Bank, including customer-facing departments such as Credit Cards, Mortgage and Commercial Banking as well as support departments like Compliance & Risk, Human Resources, Marketing and Mortgage/Loan Operations. The program curriculum covers a wide range of topics, relevant for those working with customers face-to-face or behind the scenes:

  • Temperament assessment and working with different personalities
  • Effective coaching skills
  • Understanding and applying strengths
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Communication and conflict resolution
  • Leading through change
  • Employee motivation and accountability
  • Team building

At this time, students are approximately halfway through the series. Many are already seeing a positive impact in their day-to-day interactions with customers and co-workers.

“The I Believe Leadership Series has been such a valuable and positive experience thus far. Fifteen of us have learned about servant leadership and how to focus on traits that lead to good, productive interactions on both a professional and personal level. The section on Finding your Strengths has been one of my favorites to date. A test identified five of our strengths as well as ideas on how to use them to strengthen communication. It’s exciting to think about how each of us will benefit from these new skills and knowledge. “– Wendy Cagle, Loan Review Officer in Winona.

“The information from the program has helped me be more focused on my conversations with customers and associates during my daily interaction,” – Ken Graner, Market President for Lanesboro and Rushford.

In addition, Training Director Kristine Valk has witnessed the impact of the series firsthand: “Before the program began, some of our participants didn’t really know one another. As we continued through the program, attendees have learned more about one another and are embracing each other’s talents. It’s really become an environment of trust and openness that’s resulted in more collaborative work.”

The program will run on an annual basis with current students graduating in April 2019 and a maximum of 20 new students beginning the series shortly after that. As part of one of five strategic priorities for the bank, talent management and leadership development will continue to be a key focus for Merchants in the years to come. Our I Believe in Leadership Series graduates will help all of us strive to serve each other and you better.

To learn more about working at Merchants Bank: