What We Love About My Mobile Money

MyMobileMoney-Blog

Haven’t heard of our FREE My Mobile Money app? It’s an easy tool to track your debit card transactions and help prevent fraud. Learn more about it from our staff experts with this quick Q&A.

Featured Staff

  • Tina Betchel, Customer Service Representative and Lead Teller in Spring Grove. Phone: Samsung Galaxy
  • Michelle Schroeder, Customer Service Manager in Cannon Falls
    Phone: Apple iPhone
  • Mike Swanson, Commercial Banking Officer in Hastings.
    Phone: Apple iPhone

What’s the best thing about My Mobile Money?
Michelle: I love getting notified of every single debit card transaction.

Tina: Do I have to pick one thing? I love everything about it!

Mike: I like the ability to turn my debit card on and off. The control is in my hands.

Which features have you found most helpful?
Mike: My wife and I have used the on/off for our debit card more than once. If one of us misplaces our card…leaves it in the car, forgets it on the counter or something else, we can just turn it off on the app until we find it. If our cards really were lost, it would prevent anyone else from using them. It’s just nice peace of mind.

Tina: I’ve been able to detect and stop fraud right through the app. I have notifications turned on for all my debit card transactions and one day I got a notification for a charge that I didn’t recognize. I went into the app and turned my card off and called the Bank right away. Turns out the transaction was fraudulent and because I caught it and turned off my card, I was able to stop other fraudulent transactions that were being attempted.

Michelle: I’ve had great experience with the on/off function too. I went on a trip to Florida and didn’t want my debit card on. I just went in the My Mobile Money app, slid the on/off setting to off and that it was it. It was that easy. I also really like seeing the notification for online automatic transactions, like Netflix. Sometimes you forget about those and now I get a little notification when the charge goes through.

What additional feature would you recommend customers try?
Tina: Like Michelle, I’ve used the location feature and that’s really handy. You just set up if you only want to allow transactions based on a city, region or state. Transactions attempted from outside that area are then automatically denied.

Mike: If you have more than one person on an account, like my wife and I have a joint checking account, you can have the My Mobile Money app track both of your debit cards on one phone. One time my wife was trying to buy groceries and I got a notification at work that her transaction was denied. I realized that I hadn’t moved our budgeted grocery money over to the right account and was able to use Merchants Mobile Banking to transfer funds so she could finish checking out at the grocery store. That was really handy.

Michelle: I can’t say enough about the automatic notifications for all transactions. You could set this up to only notify you for transactions over a certain dollar amount, but I love seeing everything that goes through my debit card. It’s perfect.

You can download My Mobile Money Access for your personal or business debit card anytime from the Google Play or Apple App stores. To learn more about My Mobile Money Access, visit our website.

If you have questions about downloading the app or would like additional recommendations on it’s use for you or your business, contact your local Merchants Bank and ask to speak to a Customer Service Representative.

 

Congratulate New and Promoted Staff

New Staff

AugedahlJulie Julie Augedahl, Mortgage Lender, Caledonia

Julie has nearly 10 years of experience in personal banking and lending in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She is an active volunteer in the Caledonia community, including as a member of the Caledonia Founders Day Committee. Julie has a General Education degree from Rochester Community College and a Business Management degree from Winona Technical College.

BartelKathy  Kathy Bartel, Teller, Onalaska

Kathy previously worked at Treehouse Gift and Home as a Web Store Manager and at Empire Screen Printing as a Receptionist and Account Manager. Kathy and her husband, love spending time with their children and grandchildren. 

BrooksMichaela  Michaela Brooks, Part-Time Teller, Hastings

Michaela previously worked at Dominos Pizza. She is a senior at Hastings High School and enjoys being a part of the show choir. Michaela is planning to attend Inver Hills Community College next year.

BrownJerad  Jerad Brown, Commercial & Ag Banker, Lanesboro & Rushford

Jerad, a native to the Lanesboro and Rushford area, has previous experience in credit analysis, ag and commercial lending and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) guaranty program. He is a graduate of Rushford-Peterson High School and South Dakota State University, with a major in Agriculture Science.

CarlsonHelen  Helen Carlson, Part-Time Teller, Rosemount

Helen is a senior at Rosemount High School and also currently works at Jimmy John’s.

HughesJean  Jean Hughes, Part-Time Teller, La Crescent

Jean was a teacher for 41 years at St. Mary’s Grade School and recently retired in May 2016. Jean enjoys reading, walking, and meeting new people.

KemmerlingKyle  Kyle Kemmerling, Part-Time Teller, Winona

Kyle is also currently working at Tenba Ridge Winery as a Tasting Room Sales Rep.

ThomasJulie   Julie Thomas, Part-Time Teller, Lakeville

Julie was previously self-employed as a daycare provider. Julie is excited to be part of the Merchants Bank team and is looking forward to getting to know her co-workers and customers.

Promotions and Transfers

AraujoEddie  Eddie Araujo, Customer Service Representative and Lead Teller, Lakeville

Eddie has been with Merchants since 2016. He was previously a Teller in Lakeville.

DonohoeKelly  Kelly Donohoe, Personal Banking Manager, Lakeville

Kelly has been with Merchants since 2012. She was previously a Customer Service Representative and Lead Teller in Lakeville. 

HerrmannBecky  Becky Herrmann, Cash Management Specialist, Onalaska

Becky has been with Merchants since 2012. She was previously a Customer Service Representative in Winona and Onalaska.

SeaverAshley  Ashley Seaver, Mortgage Lender, Lakeville

Ashley has been with Merchants since 2016. She was previously a Mortgage Loan Coordinator in Lakeville.

From the President’s Desk: First Quarter 2017 Edition

GregEvansNewCEO-Blog

By Greg Evans, President and CEO

In today’s commoditized banking arena, we know we must continue to find value-added ways to differentiate Merchants from a myriad of traditional bank and non-bank competitors. Our primary differentiators are aligned with the community banking business model we deploy.

Our community banking model includes our commitment to deliver an unparalleled level of personalized service and care to our customers. We choose to staff our local market branches in a manner that allows us to deliver on our brand promise to be the Bank that Service Built. The staffing model also includes our commitment to having Market Presidents who are empowered and required to deliver on an expectation of community engagement and leadership.

Another aspect of our Brand that I believe is a differentiator is our ownership structure. One thing that I’ve come to realize is that many of our customers are not aware that Merchants is a publicly-traded Company. That might seem somewhat irrelevant, but the ownership structure of the Merchants organization is unique, and has absolutely contributed to our business success over our history of more than 140 years.

Our employees own approximately 18% of the organization through an Employee Stock Ownership plan. Pride of ownership on the part of our employees helps drive the commitment we make to serving you in a manner that results in customer loyalty and business growth.

In addition to being an employee-owned Company, the balance of the ownership structure for Merchants is loosely held by approximately 600 individuals and organizations, mostly in the form of friends, neighbors and business leaders throughout our service area footprint. Our stock is available to anybody who might be motivated to take an ownership interest. Merchants Financial Group, Inc., shares are traded over the counter (OTC) under the symbol MFGI. If you would personally have an interest in acquiring Merchants stock, contact Merchants Bank for more information.

I personally take a great deal of pride in having an ownership interest in our Company, but value even more greatly the fact that ownership is comprised of my teammates and business leaders in our communities that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. I do believe this ownership structure has been critical to our long-term success.

The long-time loyalty of our shareholders has allowed us stay the course with an intense focus on slow, steady growth. In addition to holding management accountable for meeting financial performance expectations, our shareholders also have high expectations for us to deliver on community leadership responsibilities. As customers, they also demand a high level of personalized service and attention to their many banking needs.

This ownership structure really is a differentiator for Merchants. It allows management to take a disciplined approach to strategic thinking, one that allows a long-term focus. Local ownership is a strength of the Merchants Brand. If you have an interest in becoming another of our local Shareholders, contact Merchants Bank for more information.

ICS: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

ICSAccount-Blog

An Insured Cash Sweep (ICS) account is an easy way to protect your business deposits over $250,000. But how does it work? Learn this and more with these five frequently asked questions.

How does an Insured Cash Sweep account work?
If you want to protect deposits of more than $250,000 (the standard FDIC insurance coverage amount), you can use an ICS account to deposit your money automatically through a network of pre-selected, highly rated banks. Just open your ICS account with Merchants Bank and we do the rest.

An ICS account can be structured as a checking account with our ICS Demand Checking or as a savings account with our ICS Money Market Savings. Both accounts earn interest, allow for unlimited deposits and have no minimum balance requirements.

Why would an ICS account be better than using multiple banks?
Skip the running around and paperwork. With an ICS, you only have to open one account at Merchants to take advantage of the automatic, additional FDIC insurance coverage through the ICS network of banks. Plus, you’ll only have one statement to review.

Who has custody of my funds?
Funds placed through an Insured Cash Sweep are deposited only in FDIC-insured banks. Merchants Bank acts as custodian for your ICS deposits.

How safe is my information and the ICS service?
As always, Merchants Bank takes protecting your information seriously. Your confidential information is not shared with the ICS bank network.

The ICS program has been designed to comply with all FDIC requirements. You can be confident that your deposits are safe and sound.

Are there other account options similar to ICS?
Merchants Bank also offers a CDARS account through the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service. This account provides additional FDIC insurance protection through a Certificate of Deposit account – instead of checking or savings. You can choose from a variety of terms to fit your needs.

Protect your large deposits and enjoy the convenience of having them insured with one bank through ICS. Want to learn more about how your business can benefit from an Insured Cash Sweep account?

References:
*http://www.insuredcashsweep.com/home/faqs/

Meet John Piscitiello, Commercial Banker

Piscitiello, Johncrop

John Piscitiello, Commercial Banker

Get to know John’s commercial banking philosophy and how he helps businesses in the Twin Cities.

Share a little about your background and banking career.

John: I grew up in Winona and went to St. Mary’s University. After graduation, I moved to the Twin Cities, where I currently live with my wife and four boys in Lakeville.

I have been in the lending business my whole career. During the real estate boom years of the 2000s, I was a business owner in the construction lending industry. It was a challenging environment leading up to the economic meltdown. I was fortunate to exit the business before the Great Recession hit, and I learned many great lessons about both the successes and failures of running a business.

What do you like most about your job?

John: When I am able to make a difference helping a client succeed and reach their goals.

What kinds of businesses do you typically work with and how do you help them?

John: My clients are typically family-owned companies located in the Twin Cities market. I help them by providing financing and other banking services where needed, along with ideas and guidance when appropriate.

What is something not many businesses know about work with Merchants Bank?

John: That Merchants is an employee-owned ESOP bank! Being employee-owned has a positive effect on our company culture, and is a nice contrast to the big banks.

How would you describe your partnership with your business customers?

John: It is very much a business partnership. For me to be a good banker for my clients, I need to have a deep understanding of their business and business goals. This helps me to not only provide the services and advice needed, but also allows me to be an advocate for my clients internally within the bank.

What do you hope your customers say about working with you?

John: I hope my customers say that I understand them and that they have a banker they can trust to take care of their needs.

What does community banking mean to you?

John: To me, community banking means strong relationships with our clients and with the local markets we serve. Community banking also means local decision-making, which for many business owners can be the difference between feeling understood and getting the service they need versus feeling like your bank doesn’t get you.

Loans are subject to approval.

The Importance of a Living Will

 

blog-trust

Written by Monika Lovewell, Trust Manager, J.D., CTFA

 

A man and his wife were sitting in the living room and he said to her, “Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.” His wife got up, unplugged the TV, and threw out all of his beer…

All joking aside, a living will is an important tool in your estate planning toolbox. Adults have the right to name someone (an agent) to make medical care decisions for them when they are unable to do so for themselves because of incapacity. Most people recognize the terms “Living Will” or “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care” as names for documents which cover these types of decisions. However, they are not the same.

A Living Will refers to your end-of-life “plug-pulling” decision only, while the Health Care Power of Attorney covers all of your other medical care decisions. In many states, these are separate documents. Minnesota combines the two in one document called a “health care directive” which is governed by Minnesota Statutes Chapter 145c. The laws and forms for these types of documents are different in every state. Many states will honor another state’s forms, but it’s a good idea to fill out forms for every state in which you routinely spend significant time. For example, if you spend your winters in Florida, then you should complete forms for Minnesota and Florida, and make sure the forms are consistent by naming the same agent(s) and including the same medical care instructions.

In a health care directive, you (as principal) name your agent and specify your care instructions. This is different from a “Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment,” which is known as a “POLST.” The POLST is filled out by your health care provider based upon his or her understanding of what he or she thinks you want. A POLST tells other health care providers what you want for end-of-life treatment during an emergency.

Many people tell me that they have a “power of attorney,” but I find that often they are not sure what exactly it covers. A “regular” power of attorney (such as the commonly used “Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney”) only covers financial decisions and does NOT cover medical care. Conversely, your health care directive does NOT allow someone to pay your bills or manage your assets and property if you become incapacitated.

Other questions I get asked often are, “What’s the difference between a Living Will and a Will?” and “[A]re a Living Will and a Living Trust the same thing?” These are confusing terms. Generally speaking, a will refers to the document that says who will get your money and property after you pass away and it may also name a guardian to look after your minor children. It has nothing to do with your health care or end-of-life decisions. A “Living Trust” is also a set of instructions which says who gets your money and property after you die, but these instructions are carried out by your trustee instead of by a probate court under a will. The “living” part of “living trust” means that your trust is revocable. In other words, you can change the instructions –or completely undo the entire trust – during your lifetime.

There are many more differences between wills and trusts which are beyond the scope of this article. Be sure to ask your attorney to explain the differences between these important planning tools and whether either one fits your individual circumstances and estate planning goals. Our Trust Department is also a great resource for assistance and guidance with these types of issues. Please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help you.

Congratulate New and Promoted Staff

New Staff

barryrickRichard Barry, President, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance
Rick comes to Merchants Bank Equipment Finance with extensive industry experience, including nearly 20 years of working in equipment finance with GE, TCF, and most recently, US Bank. Rick’s responsibilities for the last nine years with US Bank were as Vice President National Accounts Manager. He brings extensive leadership, sales management, and relationship building experience to our Merchants organization.

 

dawsontrinityTriny Dawson, Teller, Cottage Grove
Triny also currently works for the Hastings and South Washington School District. This is a new career path for Triny and she is looking forward to meeting Merchants customers and learning new things.

 

 

Jediehnjessicassica Diehn, Part-Time Teller, Spring Grove
Jessica previously worked at Midwest Outdoor Resorts as a Sales Representative and at Hidden Bluffs Resort as an Assistant Sales Manager. Jessica is excited to be working at Merchants and is looking forward to providing excellent customer service.

 

 

Alex Faust, Teller, Onalaskafaustalex
Alex is currently a junior at the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse majoring in Political Science and Economics. He previously worked at the Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern as a Host/Busser.

 

 

goblirschaliciaAlicia Goblirsch, Teller, Apple Valley
Alicia is a senior at Apple Valley High school and is also attending Inver Hills Community College through the PSEO program. She is involved in choir and theater. Alicia also loves animals and has a dog and a guinea pig.

 

 

hallockkennedieKennedie Hallock, Teller, Red Wing
Kennedie attends Red Wing High School and is looking forward to getting to know her co-workers and customers.

 

 

 

hilkeshelbyShelby Hilke, Teller, Winona
Shelby previously worked at the Cardinal’s Nest as a Bartender and at Shopko as a Cashier. He is from Altura and has grown up on an 8th generation farm and is a car enthusiast. He graduated from Lewiston-Altura High School and is currently attending Winona State University majoring in Marketing.

 

 

longhauserkaitlinKaitlin Longhauser, Teller, Caledonia
Kaitlin currently works at Kwik Trip and is looking forward to getting to know and work with everyone at Merchants.

 

 

 

 

sawallkristinKristin Sawall, Teller, St. Charles
Kristin previously worked at Associated Bank as a Teller and Meridian Hair Design Studio as a Hair Stylist. She is originally from Pulaski, WI, outside of Green Bay. Kristin enjoys hiking and going for bike rides. She has a mini Australian Shepherd that keeps her occupied and motivated to keep moving. In the fall, Kristin and her husband like to go out hunting and enjoy the outdoors.

 

simonbarbBarb Simon, Teller, Cannon Falls
Barb previously worked at Community Resource Bank as a Senior Teller/Personal Banker. She plays softball for the Cannon Falls Boomers. Barb is also involved with a knitting group with her church and serves on several Chamber committees and the Farmers Market committee.

 

 

warnkenshelbyShelby Warnken, Teller, Winona-Goodview
Shelby is currently attending Minnesota State College Southeast majoring in Accounting. She enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family and taking her dog for walks. Shelby also works at the Wingdam Saloon and previously worked at Thrive Wellness Center and the Green Mill.

 

 

winansstephanieStephanie Winans, Teller, Onalaska
Stephanie previously worked at the YMCA in Manitowoc, WI as a Camp Counselor. She is a junior at the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse majoring in Psychology. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys traveling and staying active around campus. She just returned from studying abroad in Greece.

Promotions and Transfers

AraujoEddieEddie Araujo, Customer Service Representative and Back-Up Teller, Rosemount
Eddie has been with Merchants since 2016. He was previously a Teller in Lakeville.

 

 

faklermeghanMeghan Fakler, Customer Service Representative, Winona-Downtown
Meghan has been with Merchants since 2016. She was previously a Teller and Customer Service Representative at our Goodview location in Winona.

 

 

TealeArrieArrie Teale, Teller and Customer Service Representative, Winona-Goodview
Arrie has been with Merchants since 2015. She was previously a Part-Time Teller at our Downtown location in Winona.