Susan Clark is Now a Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank



Susan Clark, Mortgage Lender

Susan Clark is now helping customers in her role as Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank in Winona, according to Sue Hovell, Director of Retail Banking Performance.

“Given her background, knowledge of the Winona market and her desire to provide customers with guidance and walk them the mortgage process from start to finish, we know Susan is an important addition to our growing Winona mortgage team,” Hovell said.

Clark has been serving Merchants Bank customers in a number of roles since 2003 and has been a Winona resident for most of her life. Her background includes finance, lending, and bank compliance. She is certified as an American Bankers Association Residential Mortgage Lender.

“With the wide variety of home financing options available and what seems like a mountain of paperwork before you start, it can be intimidating to know where to begin,” Clark said. “I can help, and look forward to making the process as clear and stress-free as possible for our customers. I truly want to be there every step of the way.”

Clark points out that her experience as part of their family business allows her to understand the complexities self-employment can create when applying for a home mortgage. Clark volunteers her time throughout the community in support of area schools as well as many non-profit organizations.

Meet Mike Swanson, Commercial Banker


Mike Swanson, Commercial Banker in Hastings

Get to know Mike, Commercial Banker,  and how he helps businesses – big and small – meet their financial goals.

Share a little about your background and banking career.
Mike: I started in banking as a part time teller in high school at Vermillion State Bank. Two years later, I moved to First Federal Bank (now known as MidCountry Bank) as a Construction Loan Assistant. After college, I moved back to the retail side of the bank as a Personal Banker and eventually became a branch manager there.

In 2012, I started at Merchants Bank as Personal Banker. Since then, I’ve changed office locations and roles a couple of times and eventually was fortunate enough to move to the commercial side of banking, in my current role as a Commercial Banker. It had been a goal of mine to move into a commercial role for many years and I feel very fortunate Merchants has afforded me that opportunity and in my hometown no less!

What do you like most about your job?
Mike: When people hear you are a banker they tend to draw conclusions about number crunching and spreadsheets, but I’m a community banker because I like people! I love building relationships and getting to know my clients, their goals, dreams, and aspirations, and most importantly helping them achieve them.

I also greatly enjoy my community and Merchants Bank’s commitment to the communities we serve allows me to be involved in several organizations. Part of my job is to help make Hastings a great community for all of us who live and work here.

What kinds of businesses do you typically work with and how do you help them?
Mike: That’s one of the great things about Merchants – whether you are a one-man show landscaper or plumber, or have employees in multiple locations – we are going to have products and services to offer you. I’ve work with several one-man operations in landscaping, agriculture, all the trades (plumbing, electrical, etc), as well as real estate investors, accountants, and doctors.

We can help with equipment purchasing and leasing, working line of credits, credit card, and an entire suite of cash management services too. We have something for every kind of business.

What do you hope your customers say about working with you?
Mike: I hope they say “that was such a great experience I’m going to tell everyone I know about Mike at Merchants!” Really, I hope they know I am working for them and that I’m here to offer them options in order to meet their future goals. I hope they say I am a long-term trusted partner to help them reach their goals.

What does community banking mean to you?
Mike: Community banking means that we, the Bank, take care of our community. Decisions are made by people who understand the local needs of families, businesses and farmers.

In today’s world, you can’t walk into just any bank and ask to talk to the president. But at Merchants you can because of our local, market-based leadership. Being a community bank means we partner with you through opening your child’s savings account, financing your first home, or helping you get the business of your dreams started. It means when you walk in the door, we’re going to know your name and you will know ours.

Loans are subject to approval.

Your Local Cash Management Experts


For many businesses, the management of your day-to-day cash flow has become more complex. Over the past year, Merchants Bank recognized the need for more local service and expertise in this area and trained an additional 15 Merchants Bank staff as Cash Management Specialists.

What does this mean for your business? You’ll now have a local business resource, in addition to your Commercial or Ag Banker, at a Merchants Bank near you. With the leadership of Tammy Johnson, our Cash Management Sales Manager, our Cash Management Specialists are fully equipped to help your business find the right cash management or treasury management solutions.

What services can Cash Management Specialists help with?
We can help any business with something as simple as selecting the right business checking account or business credit card to custom FDIC insured products for larger deposit accounts (such as CDARs and ICS).

We also offer:

Who is my local Cash Management expert?
Find the Cash Management Specialist for your area below.

  • Apple Valley and Lakeville: Pam Timp
  • Caledonia, Rushford and Spring Grove: Becky Herrmann
  • Cannon Falls and Hampton: Michelle Schroeder
  • Cottage Grove, Hastings and Rosemount: Mike Swanson
  • Eau Claire: Pat Diller
  • La Crescent: Sarah Danielson
  • Lanesboro: Laryssa Hanson
  • Onalaska: Becky Herrmann and Kari Kingsbury
  • Red Wing: Lori Eppen and Gary Johnson
  • Rochester: Holly Gronholz, Nicole Fritz and Tiffany Wacholz
  • St. Charles and Winona: Deanna Ellinghuysen and Jen Welch

Contact your local Merchants Bank to speak to the Cash Management Specialist near you. To learn more about our Cash Management services, visit our website.

Money Ball is at Cannon Falls High School for 4 Games in 2016-2017


Merchants Bank’s Money Ball will be making its debut in Cannon Falls for four games during the 2016-2017 basketball season, according to Jenny Holz, who is coordinating Money Ball for Merchants Bank.

To be eligible, students sign up before halftime of the varsity game that night. Two contestants are then chosen randomly, one from 1st-5th grade and another from 6th-12th grade. Each contestant has a minute to make shots.

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.

Money Ball will take place during high school home games:

Boys’ Games:

  • Dec. 30         New Life Academy
  • Feb. 3            Kenyon-Wanamingo

Girls’ Games:

  • Jan. 20          Kasson-Mantorville
  • Feb. 10          Goodhue

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

Fraud Alert: Watch for Stolen Mail


Customers in Red Wing, Hampton and the surrounding areas have reported an increase in stolen mail, including people who use their mailbox for outgoing mail.

We’d like to remind all customers to be cautious when sending or receiving personal information, bank account information or checks through the mail. To protect yourself or your business, consider following these recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission:

  • Take outgoing mail to post office collection boxes or the post office.
  • Promptly remove mail that arrives in your mailbox. If you won’t be home for several days, request a vacation hold on your mail.
  • When you order new checks, don’t have them mailed to your home, unless you have a secure mailbox with a lock.

To learn more about how you can protect your personal information, read this article from the FTC Consumer Blog.

If you think your bank account information has been compromised or you are a victim of identity theft, contact your local Merchants Bank and ask to speak to a Customer Service Representative.

“10 Days of Giving” at 206,050 Pounds for 2016; Passes 3 Million Pounds Collected in Total


“10 Days of Giving” Food Drive Co-Chairs Jen Welch and Chad Anderson

Through school and business pickups Monday and Tuesday, the “Days of Giving”Food Drive was at 206,050 pounds of food. The collection puts the drive at over 3 million pounds of food collected during the drive’s 28-year history to benefit the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services.

“The pick-ups are always a lot of work for our volunteers and the volunteers at Winona Volunteer Services, and it always seems as if they are on the coldest days of the year,” said Jen Welch, one of this year’s co-chairs for Merchants Bank. “Our thanks to all of our volunteers and to all of the people who donated goods and money to make the drive a success. We are thankful to top 3 million pounds and grateful that we have been able to help people in our area who have a need.”

The 2016 total breaks down to $90,900 in cash and 24,250 pounds of food. For the purposes of the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar. The total for 28 years now stands at 3,045,465 pounds.

“All of us at Merchants Bank are looking forward to renewing the drive next year and helping to meet our goal of helping to make sure no one in Winona County goes hungry during the winter,” Welch said.

Merchants collected 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

“10 Days of Giving” Food Drive Has a Good Beginning


Through Tuesday, Merchants Bank’s 28th annual “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive was at 97,036 pounds of food collected.

The number of pounds of food collected included $47,976 in cash and 1,084 pounds of food. Included in the amount was a $10,000 anonymous donation. Two pounds of food are counted for each dollar collected. Through the same time last year, 117,381 pounds of food had been collected.

“We are always truly amazed at the generosity of the people in our community, especially as it relates to helping others,”said Jennifer Welch of Merchants Bank, one of this year’s co-chairs.

Last year, more than 231,233 pounds of food was collected, making the 27-year total 2,839,415 pounds of food. With totals to date for this year, the “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive is at 2,936,451 pounds of food collected.

“We are looking forward to the remainder of the drive,” Welch said. “We expect there will be great turnouts for the Holiday Train on Thursday and at the Santa House on Saturday and Sunday.”

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is scheduled to arrive at 4 p.m. at the Winona Amtrak Station. The Santa House is open at 25038 County Road 9 1-5 p.m. Saturday and 2-5 p.m. Sunday. Suggested admission to the Santa House is $5 per person or nonperishable food items. Pictures with Santa will be available for $3 a photo.

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 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.