Tim Nelson Joins Merchants Bank in Lakeville as Mortgage Lender

Tim Nelson, Mortgage Lender

Tim Nelson has joined Merchants Bank in Lakeville as a Mortgage Lender, according to Dan Vlasak, President of Merchants Bank in Lakeville.

“Tim is experienced in all types of mortgage loans, including construction loans, which will help Merchants Bank support our construction customers in the Lakeville area,” Vlasak said.

Nelson worked at Wells Fargo as a Home Mortgage Consultant for 16 years. He has lived in Lakeville for more than 20 years.

“I’m all in with Merchants,” Nelson said. “When you’re meeting with customers, it’s important to be able to confidently say that you can get their job done. Our group of operations professionals really deliver.”

Nelson is also involved in the community, working with the Lakeville Booster Club by fundraising to support Lakeville High School sports. As a self-described “family man,” he frequents the events to cheer on his children and their teams.

Meet Ben Franko, Mortgage Lender and Home Loan Expert

Ben Franko, Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank, and his son

Ben Franko, Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank, and his son.

Get to know Ben Franko, Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank in Eau Claire.

When did you start your banking/lending career?

Ben: I’ve been in banking since September 2005. I’ve worked in many positions on the retail side of the bank, such as a personal banker, customer service supervisory, branch manager, mortgage officer and mortgage sales manager. I started with Merchants on June 30, 2017 as a mortgage lender and I’m happy to use my experience in credit and customer service to help people get homes they could afford.

What is your best borrowing/banking tip?

Ben: My top home buying tip is always get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start the home buying or building process. It’s important to understand how the purchase you’re making will affect your budget.

What is something smart borrowers do?

Ben: This ties in with getting pre-approved for your mortgage: be prepared, know how your costs will interact. Just because you can afford a payment on paper, doesn’t mean that’s realistic. It’s a bad idea to stretch your budget; you want to be comfortable making that payment even when unforeseen expenses come up.

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

Ben: One of the things I was taught from a young age is you work very hard for your money, so spend and save wisely. It’s always good to avoid making impulse purchases. Picture your dream home.

What is your favorite room in your house and why?

Ben: I’m very fortunate to have my dream home, and my favorite room is my kitchen/sunroom. I love being in the kitchen cooking and entertaining. It was the most important feature when we were looking, so when we walked in we knew immediately we were home.

If you had $1,875,000, what is one FUN thing you’d do with the money?

Ben: I would go back to Europe and spend most of my time in Belgium and Holland where my family is from.

Fraud and Scam Updates – February 2018

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Review our most recent fraud alerts and updates to help keep your personal information secure. Want to be automatically updated about recent scams and fraud? Sign up for our Alerts emails here.

Computer Pop Up Scam

Have you heard of this scam? You are on your computer when a pop-up warns that your computer is compromised. If you don’t act now, your computer will crash. Offering to help, a scammer dials into your computer to try “fix” the issue, meanwhile gleaming your personal information. Sometimes, the scammers require a payment to “fix” the computer. In the end, the scammers have what they wanted all along, the personal information they got off your computer and now your credit card information you used to pay them. Please be on the lookout for this scam to protect your private information.

Stolen Mail

Our customers 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. If you’re expecting something to arrive and it doesn’t, check on it – balance your checkbook to make sure all checks clearing your account are for the amount you issued. If you are sending checks through the mail, consider putting your mail in a United States Postal Service Collection Box or take it to the Post Office.

Sharing Login Credentials

It’s never a good idea to share your login credentials, or any private information, with anyone, even people you know or think you know. This tip is especially important to remember when you’re talking to someone over the phone on a call you did not initiate. Please remember that Merchants Bank will never ask for your personal information unless you have previously initiated a conversation with us about your accounts or an application.

Family Emergency Scam

Merchants has recently seen an increase in imposter scams. Customers have almost fallen for some emergency scams, including being asked by a fraudster posing as a relative to send money for bail. If you’re asked to send money in an emergency situation, verify the true location of your friend or relative before responding – even if the person you’re talking to sounds like someone in your family.

Be a skeptic. If the situation doesn’t sound right, it’s time to do some more investigating. If you have doubts, just call or come in to discuss the situation with us. We’re here to help.

Next Steps If You’ve Experienced Fraud

If you notice fraud on your statement, be sure to contact us within 60 days from the date your statement was issued. In most cases, if the fraud is reported within 60 days we have a better chance of resolving the issue. After 60 days from the statement’s issue date, there is nothing we can do to retrieve the lost funds.

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.

Hope to See You at these Shows & Events

Events-Blog

Join our staff at these great events. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page for information on these events or pictures from other events you may have missed. 

2/9-2/11 Rochester Area Builders Home Show at the Mayo Civic Center

Show Hours

Friday, February 9: 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 10: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 11: 11 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

2/23-2/25 Chippewa Valley Home and Garden Show at the Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center

Show Hours

Friday, February 23: 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 24: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 25: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

3/3-3/4 Winona Better Living Show at Winona Senior High School

Show Hours

Saturday, March 3: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 4: 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

3/10 Lakeville Landscape & Home Show/Consumer Showcase at Lakeville North High School

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

4/19 Community Picnic for the Pets

2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Minnesota State College Southeast – Student Commons

Please join us for food and beverages. There will be no fee to attend, but donations will be collected to support the humane society. Come visit us to say hello!

4/20 Community Banking Month Community Appreciation

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Merchants Bank in Caledonia

Please join us in our lobby for hamburgers and refreshments, we appreciate your friendship over the years!

4/21 Cottage Grove Spring Business Showcase at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

4/27 Community Banking Month Community Appreciation

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Merchants Bank in Spring Grove

Please join us in our lobby for hamburgers and refreshments, we appreciate your friendship over the years!

4/28 St. Charles Home and Business Expo at St. Charles Elementary School

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Come visit us at our booth to say hello!

Controller Greg Rasmussen Promoted to Officer at Merchants Bank Equipment Finance

Greg Rasmussen, Controller at Merchants Bank Equipment Finance

Greg Rasmussen, Controller for Merchants Bank Equipment Finance (MBEF), has been promoted to an Officer with MBEF, according to Richard Barry, President of MBEF.

“Greg is an integral part of the ongoing review of our financial performance and charting the course for our future,” Barry said. “His skill and insight have contributed greatly to our growth.”

In addition, to his duties as Controller, Rasmussen supports the MBEF Sales and Portfolio Management team in pricing, software support and detailed reporting.

“MBEF is an important part of our entire organization in that it provides a viable leasing alternative for customers,” Rasmussen said. “It’s been great to be a part of it as we’ve grown and helped our customers.”

MBEF’s primary sales office is in Minneapolis. Rasmussen’s office is in Winona, within the team at Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI), MBEF’s parent company, and Merchants Bank. Rasmussen has been very active running the transportation and pick-up for Merchants Bank’s “10 Days of Giving” food drive that supports the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services.

Rasmussen is a native of River Falls, Wis., and is a graduate of Winona State University. He joined MBEF in 2000, and was one of six employees. Today, MBEF has 12 employees and has continued to make a significant impact to MFGI’s bottom line. MBEF primarily provides equipment lease and loan financing options to businesses located throughout the central U.S. and also partners with other finance companies in equipment finance transactions outside its marketing footprint. MBEF finances tangible assets over terms of 2 to 10 years on equipment with values generally ranging from $50,000 to over $10 million. MBEF serves many industries, including construction, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, food and agriculture.

MFGI, the parent company for MBEF, owns 21 Merchants Bank locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, has more than $1.6 billion in assets and is one of the largest independent financial organizations in its region.

Marcus Krings Promoted to Credit Card Manager for Merchants Bank

Marcus Krings, Credit Card ManagerMarcus Krings has been promoted to Credit Card Manager, according to Sue Hovell, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking Performance for Merchants Bank.

“Marcus is focused on providing the best in customer service to our credit card customers,” Hovell said. “His knowledge will be a benefit to both our retail and business customers.”

Krings has been in banking for more than 11 years, including experience in customer service supervision. He has been with Merchants since 2012, starting in the Electronic Banking area. He joined the Credit Card department in 2016.

“Our credit cards are more than competitive. People will be pleased about how we compare to big bank credit cards and provide that community bank level of service. Plus, we take great care to help protect our customers from fraud,” Krings said.

Krings said Merchants offers a credit card security app, and the department makes it a point to contact people if there is suspected fraud on a credit card. Another area of emphasis is merchant processing, which helps businesses process card transactions.

“I’m looking forward to helping our cardholders,” Krings said. “If anyone has any questions about their credit cards, they should give us a call. We’re here to help.”

Krings is from Winona and is a graduate of Winona Senior High School and Winona State University. He succeeds Deb Kemp, who recently retired.

Merchants Bank has 21 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.

Danny Pohnl Joins Merchants Bank in Eau Claire as a Commercial Banker

Daniel Pohnl, Commercial Banker

Danny Pohnl has joined the growing team at Merchants Bank in Eau Claire as a Commercial Banker, according to Larry Accola, President for Merchants Bank in Eau Claire.

Pohnl has been in banking since 2011, working in mortgage loans, as a credit analyst and most recently as a commercial banker, all in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro market. He is an experienced SBA (Small Business Administration) Lender, comfortable working with SBA 7(a) and 504 loans. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he had a double major in Accounting and Finance. He is originally from Rhinelander.

“Danny has the background, experience and desire to help business owners reach their goals. He understands our market and is focused on providing exceptional customer service,” Accola said.

Merchants is continuing to add staff to serve customers in the greater Eau Claire area. Over the past six months they have added two mortgage lenders to help customers – with Ben Franko serving people in the Chippewa Valley and Tony Scalzo working with people northwest of Eau Claire.

“I’m excited to be with Merchants Bank. It has an excellent reputation in the banking industry as a community bank with the ability to help with projects of almost any size,” Pohnl said. “I’m especially excited to be with Merchants in Eau Claire because the Bank’s commitment to the market and the growth potential in the market.”

Merchants Bank started serving the Eau Claire market in 2014 when it acquired Alliance Bank in Eau Claire.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including its location in Eau Claire and another Wisconsin location in Onalaska. Minnesota locations include Winona, St. Charles, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, La Crescent, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.