Congratulate New and Promoted Staff

NewPromotedStaff-Blog

New Staff

BleningerAnnette Annette Bleninger, Cash Management Officer, CTP, Rosemount

Annette has more than 15 years of banking experience in sales, customer service and operations in Cash Management. She has worked with customers of varying sizes to help them determine the products and services that will help them most effectively manage their short term funds. She is looking forward to working with customers and bankers across Merchants Bank’s Twin Cities locations.

BorgenAmanda Amanda Borgen, Teller, Rushford

Amanda previously worked as a Sales Associate/Assistant Manager at Cut Above Home in Rochester. Having grown up on a farm, she and her husband are happy to have recently moved back to the country on their own farm. They have a new puppy named Bear, who can be quite a handful, but a great dog. Amanda loves doing anything creative, from sewing to drawing to DIY’s

KeimMeghan Meghan Keim, Customer Service Representative & Teller, Winona-Lakeside

Meghan previously worked at David’s Bridal and KDLT-TV. She has a communications background and graduated from Minnesota State University Moorehead. Meghan is a bubbly person who loves sports (Minnesota ones!), holidays, chocolate, movies, baking, reading, and talking with people.

KnottKayla Kayla Knott, Teller, Winona-Lakeside

Kayla is from a small town in Minnesota and has four siblings, one of which is her identical twin!  Kayla is a sophomore at Winona State University majoring in Business.  She previously worked at Fergusons Apple Orchard, Schweich’s Hotel Bar & Restaurant, and Hy-Vee.

ThaiAmyNgoc Amy Thai, Teller, Cottage Grove

Amy also currently works at DSW as a part-time Sales Associate and previously worked at Quali-Mac as an Assistant. She is happy to join the Merchants team and looks forward to getting to know our Cottage Grove customers.

Promotions and Transfers

ManorMeghan Meghan Manor, Personal Banker, Winona-Downtown

Megan has been with Merchants since 2016. She was previously a Customer Service Representative in Winona.

Toni Nisbit, Vice President of Mortgage Operations, Winona-Downtown

Toni has been with Merchants Bank since 2001. She was previously the Underwriting Manager/Assistant Mortgage Operations Manager.

Attend our Holiday Open Houses

Please join us for these Holiday Open Houses

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

11/27 Free Town Hall Forum with Neel Kashkari, President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
East Hall in Student Union/Kryzsko Commons, W. 9th St, Winona, Minn.
At the free Town Hall Forum, President Kashkari will give brief opening remarks, followed by an open-mic Q&A with the audience, moderated by Scott Olson, President of Winona State University.

To register for this FREE event, go to: FRBMinneapolis.cvent.com/Winona

External link disclaimer: By clicking the above link, 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.
12/1-12/10 “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive

See how you can support local food shelves through the “10 Days of Giving” at participating Merchants Bank locations.

12/1 Caledonia Holiday Open House
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Caledonia

Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby.
12/1 Caledonia Winter Wonderland Parade
7:00 p.m.
Please join us on Main Street in Downtown Caledonia.
12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 12/22, 12/29 Cottage Grove Holiday Open House
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove

Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby.
12/2 Goodview Holiday Lighted Parade
5:30 p.m.
6th Street in Goodview
12/4-12/8 Lanesboro Holiday Open House
Monday-Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Lanesboro
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby.
12/4-12/8 Rushford Holiday Open House
Monday-Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Rushford

Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby.
12/8 Hastings Holiday Open House
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Hastings
Please join us for a light lunch and refreshments in our bank lobby. You may also bring food or monetary donations for the “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive.
12/8 Spring Grove Holiday Open House
12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Spring Grove

Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby. Santa will be available for pictures from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
12/8 St. Charles Holiday Open House
10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in St. Charles

Please join us for refreshments in our bank lobby. You may also bring food or monetary donations for the “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive.
12/9 Rushford Holiday Parade of Lights
7:00 p.m.
Join us for the Parade of Lights in Downtown Rushford.
12/11-12/15 Rosemount Holiday Open House
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Rosemount

Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby.
12/14 Cannon Falls Holiday Open House
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby. Live music will be performed throughout the day by area schools.
9:00 a.m. – Cannon Falls High School Concert Choir
10:00 a.m. – Cannon Falls High School Flute Choir
11:00 p.m. – Randolph Junior High School Choir
12:00 p.m.  – Holiday music featuring Jane Peterson on piano
1:00 p.m. – St. Paul’s Lutheran School Choir
12/14-12/15 La Crescent Holiday Open House
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in La Crescent

Please join us for cookies, coffee and holiday spirit in our bank lobby.
12/18 Eau Claire Holiday Open House
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Eau Claire
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby.  
12/18-12/22 Winona Holiday Open House
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Winona-Downtown
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby. Live music will be performed throughout the week by area schools.
12/18-12/22 Onalaska Holiday Open House
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Onalaska
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby. 
12/18-12/22 Rochester-Green Meadows Holiday Open House
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Rochester – Green Meadows office
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby.
12/18-12/22 Rochester-Northwest Plaza Holiday Open House
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Rochester – Northwest Plaza office
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby. 
12/18-12/22 Red Wing Holiday Open House
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Red Wing
Please join us for cookies and refreshments in our bank lobby. Please bring a donation of hats and mittens to support our friends and neighbors in the Red Wing area.

Protect Your Identity During the Holidays or Any Time of Year

CardProtectionApps-Blog

The importance of protecting your personal identity became clearer with the recent Equifax data breach where the personal information of more than 143 million Americans was compromised. If you haven’t checked yet, you can still do so at http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and clicking “Am I Impacted?” If you have more questions, feel free to call us.

Let Merchants Bank Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

Your security is top of mind at Merchants Bank. We have a number of ways to help you protect yourself with our SecurLock Equip app for your Merchants Bank credit card and My Mobile Money app for our debit card. These apps are very similar.

With SecurLock or My Mobile Money you can:

  • Turn your Merchants Bank credit card or debit card on and off.
  • Control where your credit card or debit card can be used.
  • Receive automatic notifications about possible fraud and take action.

More on SecurLock and My Mobile Money can be found on our website.

Plus, if you use Merchants Online Banking, consider using the “Alerts” functions to monitor activity. To set up automatic alerts, follow the steps outlined in our video tutorial. Alerts can be sent to an email address or via text message.

Best Practices to Use When Shopping Online During the Holidays:

  • Change your passwords often. Use a mixture of numbers, letters and special characters. Don’t use the same passwords for multiple accounts.
  • Be suspicious. Thieves will use calls or emails to trick you into sharing passwords, social security numbers, etc. If you don’t recognize the caller or email, don’t reply.
  • Don’t click on links in emails from your credit card companies, investment companies or banks that would have you update account information. Remember, Merchants Bank will never ask you to update your personal information via a link in an email. When suspicious, call the company at a number you confirmed in a separate source, like a phone book or prior statement.
  • Make a fraud kit. Keep a list of your credit and debit cards, account numbers, expiration dates and customer service of fraud department telephone numbers in a secure place.
  • Read through your credit card bills. If you see a charge you don’t recognize, call and get the charge reversed.
  • Don’t use the “remember password” option. It makes it easier for someone to access your accounts.
  • Do NOT keep a list of passwords in an unprotected document on your devices or written down in an unsecure place.
  • Never save your credit card number online. If that site gets breached, you are at risk. Enter your information each time you make a purchase.

If you’re traveling or spending the winter somewhere else, let us know by contacting your local Customer Service Representative so we can make sure you have the best service.

If you make purchases in a state or country where you don’t normally use your Merchants Bank debit or credit card, we may think these transactions are fraudulent unless we know otherwise. Let us know the dates of your trip, your travel locations and how we may be able to contact you.

If you have additional questions, please contact us. We’re happy to help.

 

 

 

 

Better, Safer and Faster Movement of Your Money

SameDayACHEffectiveDate-Blog

Effective September 15, 2017, a new rule went into effect allowing for faster processing of debits from your financial accounts. Virtually all types of electronic payments will now be eligible to be processed on the same day they are authorized.

For example, types of affected payments could include:

  • A paper check you write, which is then scanned at the business for electronic processing
  • Online payments
  • Payments made via the telephone

This means that payments could clear your checking (or savings) account on the same day you write the check or authorize the payment. What does this mean to you? We encourage you to make sure funds are available in your account before you authorize transactions to avoid unnecessary insufficient funds fees.

Please note: This new electronic payment processing rule does not affect how debit card payments are authorized or processed.

 

Behind the Scenes with Our Credit Team

 

Startup Stock Photos

If you’ve worked with Merchants on a loan for your business, you know our Commercial Bankers have a team of people assisting them in the loan process. You may have even heard them mention a Credit Analyst, who would review your financial information.

Our Credit Analyst team plays an important part in the loan approval process. So we’re giving you a behind the scenes look at their role and what kind of expertise they bring to our commercial banking team.

How is a Credit Analyst involved in my application for a business loan?
Our team of 11 Credit Analysts assist in determining your credit worthiness and ability to pay back a loan. Upon application, your financial information is given to a Credit Analyst, who reviews all the details and provides a credit presentation to your Commercial Banker.

“Our job is to assess repayment ability of credit obligations and determine overall financial risk. This information helps the Commercial Banker decide on next steps,” said Chris Duellman, SBA Lending and Credit Underwriting Manager. “Our ultimate goal is to help the borrower gain loan approval, but we also need to identify potential risks – that’s why we review so many details about the business and business owners. We look at the full picture to create our report to the Commercial Banker.”

In some instances, you may also meet with one of our Credit Analysts and a Commercial Banker to collect your financial information. A face-to-face conversation is sometimes the best approach to obtaining all the details needed to gain a full understanding of your business.

What expertise does a Credit Analyst bring to the business banking team?
Most of our Credit Analysts have an accounting or finance degree and/or related job experience. In addition, they are well-trained on all different types of credit to be able to fully assess your business’s situation. Day in and day out, they work with the financial details of businesses of every size and industry – their incredible depth of knowledge is an asset to you, your Banker and the entire commercial banking team.

Because Merchants Bank provides many loans for agricultural businesses and farms, three of our Credit Analysts specifically concentrate on ag requests. Having grown up on farms or worked on farms, these Credit Analysts provide an additional level of expertise and insight when reviewing an ag loan.

How do I benefit from a Credit Analyst reviewing my loan application?
Talking with your Commercial Banker and Credit Analysts can give you more insight into the financial side of your business.

While gathering your financial information, the Credit Analysts may ask questions your business might not have ever considered. Or, the Analysts might even pinpoint some financial areas where your business could make improvements by working with your accountant or in-house finance department. In addition, tapping into the Credit Analyst industry-specific knowledge can be a bonus for your business.

“We’re here to provide an additional level of financial understanding and support to both the business and the Commercial Banker,” said Duellman. “It’s our job as part of the commercial banking team to help our business customers thrive.”

To learn more about business financing options at Merchants Bank, visit our website:

Congratulate New and Promoted Staff

New Staff

Kayla Beckjorden, Part Time Teller, Rochester – Green Meadows
Kayla previously worked at Kohl’s as a Sales Associate. During the summer she enjoys attending as many car shows as she can and she is also a huge animal lover.

 

 

Claudia Bergaus, Electronic Banking Specialist, Winona – Downtown
Claudia previously worked at HyVee as an Assistant Manager and at Midtown Foods in Customer Service and as a Cashier. 

 

 

 

Sam Bowen, Part Time Teller, Lakeville
Sam attends Lakeville North High School and previously worked at Chart House Restaurant. Sam is extremely excited to be here working at Merchants.

 

 

Jackson Dorma, Part Time Teller, Cottage Grove
Jackson was previously at District 833 Service Center at a Tech Intern and is very excited to join Merchants.

 

 

 

April Duncan, Teller & Vault Attendant, Winona – Lakeside
April previously worked as a Teller at Wells Fargo in La Crosse and as a Customer Service Representative at Directtv/Att in Huntville, AL.

 

 

 

EricsonTaylorTaylor Ericson, Teller, Lakeville
Taylor previously worked at River Valley Church as a Connections Coordinator. Taylor and her husband, Paul have been happily married for almost 4 years. Taylor is a photographer and enjoys being creative in her free time. She loves meeting new people and is excited to join the Merchants team.

 

 

FrankoBenBen Franko, Mortgage Lender, Eau Claire
Ben previously worked at Wells Fargo at a Mortgage Banker. He is actively involved in the community and serves on the Community Table Board of Directors as the Co-President. Ben and his wife have two children. He enjoys the outdoors, fishing and hunting. 

 

 

GernesCalebCaleb Gernes, Trust Assistant, Winona-Downtown
Caleb previously worked at Winona National Bank as a Teller and at Mugby Junction as a Barista. Caleb is currently attending Winona State University majoring in Marketing. He is a ballroom dancer, speaks French and has a pet bearded dragon.

 

 

GuzzoAndrewAndrew Guzzo, Regional President, Winona-Downtown
Andrew has spent the past 11 years in the banking industry, working for American Bank & Trust in the Quad Cities (Iowa/Illinois) area, and most recently leading NXT Bank in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Prior to that, he had more than 15 years of sales and sales management experience for US Foods. Andrew and his wife, Dawn, have four children, two boys and two girls. Learn more about Andrew here.

 

Alyssa Melbostad, Teller, Caledonia
Alyssa previously worked at Winneshiek Medical Center as a Rehabilitation Technician. Alyssa and her husband reside in Spring Grove with their son. She enjoys spending time with her family and getting outside as much as possible.

 

 

Melisa Miklya, Teller, Cottage Grove
Melisa previously worked at Microtel Inn & Suites. She is a single mother of a kind heart, spunky seven-year-old. In her free time, Melisa enjoys spending time with family, playing the piano for her grandma, crocheting and enjoying the fresh air.

 

 

Eryn Orth, Teller & Customer Service Representative, Winona – Goodview
Eryn previously worked at White Rose Bridal as a Bridal Consultant. She grew up on a dairy farm near Lewiston and recently graduated from UW-River Falls with her BS Degree in Agriculture Business. She is excited to be getting married in September.

 

 

MillerGina

Gina Miller, Commercial Banker, Onalaska
Gina previously worked at Wells Fargo Bank as a Business Relationship Manager for 17 years. She was raised in La Crosse, has been married for four years and has a daughter. She is active in the community as a member of the Coulee Region Young Professionals, a member of the Women’s Alliance of La Crosse, and a participant in the Chamber of Commerce’s La Crosse Area Community Leadership Program. In her free time, Gina likes to downhill ski, hike and spend summer days on the river. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

 

ReardonRoseRose Reardon, Teller, Cannon Falls
Rose also currently works at Spartan Nash as a Guest Associate. 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Rodenburg, Teller, Winona – Downtown
Matthew previously worked at Destiny Life Church as an Associate/Youth Pastor and at Tri-County Record as a Journalist/Staff Writer. Matt is a father of four and is originally from Omaha, NE. He loves movies, the 80’s, and the Chicago Bears (which means he is especially fond of 1985).

 

 

ScalzoTonyTony Scalzo, Mortgage Lender, Eau Claire
Tony owns Scalzo Properties, LLC and previously worked at US Bank as a Mortgage Loan Originator and at Johnson Bank as a Mortgage Loan Officer.

 

 

Tammy Strand, Part Time Teller, St. Charles
Tammy previously worked at Mike’s Food Center as a Cashier. She also previously owned her own business, Abby’s Locker Room, which was located in St Charles. Tammy is married and has four children and two cats. Her hobbies include reading, crafting, working in the yard & garden and home renovations.

 

 

Larissa Verbeke, Customer Service Representative & Back Up Teller, Rosemount
Larissa previously worked at Merchants as a Teller. She graduated in May from Winona State University majoring in Finance and Human Resources with a minor in Management and after graduation relocated to Hastings. In her free time she likes to play volleyball, run, hike and be with her family and friends.

 

 

Molli Vodak, Electronic Banking Specialist
Molli previously worked at Benton State Bank as a Consumer Loan Officer and Customer Service Representative. She and her husband recently moved to Winona, so her husband could help his parents with their family business. They are looking forward to their new adventure and they are excited to see what their future holds.

 

 

Rachel Wyttenbach, Administrative Assistant & Customer Service Representative, Onalaska
Rachel previously worked at Citizens State Bank as a Customer Service Representative. She is recently engaged and is planning a June 2018 wedding. Rachel has two fur babies, Leo and Aspen.

 

 

Nou Xiong, Lending Assistant & Customer Service Representative, Apple Valley
Nou previously worked at Wells Fargo as a Loan Processor for 15 years. She is married and has three daughters and one son. As a family, they love to take small walks and she enjoys watching her son fish.

 

Promotions and Transfers

BauerJennaJenna Bauer, Mortgage Lender, Hastings
Jenna has been with Merchants since 2011. She was previously a Customer Service Representative in Hastings.

 

 

 

Alyssa Connolly, Lead Teller, Cottage Grove
Alyssa has been with Merchants since 2015. She was previously a Teller in Cottage Grove. 

 

 

 

Corey Decker, Electronic Banking Specialist, Winona – Downtown
Corey has been with Merchants since 2017. He is also currently the Director of Customer Assistance in Winona. 

 

 

 

Amy Gutierrez, Trust Administrative Specialist, Winona – Downtown
Amy has been with Merchants since 2014. She was previously a Credit Operations Representative and also has a law degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL.

 

 

HarrisonAshley copyAshley Harrison, Mortgage Lender, La Crescent
Ashley has been with Merchants Bank since 2011. She was previously a Teller, Marketing Coordinator, Mortgage Purchasing Specialist, Underwriter and most recently a Mortgage Underwriting Specialist.

 

 

WagnerAshleyAshley Wagner, Retail Lending Assistant, Winona – Downtown
Ashley has been with Merchants since 2014. She was previously an Electronic Banking Representative in Winona.

 

 

 

Kally Whalen, Customer Service Representative, St. Charles
Kally has been with Merchants since 2016. She was previously an Electronic Banking Representative in Winona.

 

From the President’s Desk: Fall 2017

Greg Evans, Merchants Bank President & CEO

By Greg Evans, President & CEO

A few weeks ago, Merchants Bank was featured prominently in a Sunday news feature in the Business section of the Star Tribune newspaper. I sincerely appreciate the response I have personally received from so many friends and Bank customers about the exposure for the Merchants organization.

It’s gratifying to be associated with a company that is recognized throughout the state of Minnesota as a leader in our industry. The extraordinary business growth that Merchants has enjoyed over a period of many years was one of the reasons the Star Tribune reached out to us for purpose of doing the story.

The story focused on two primary things:

  • What has been the formula for our sustained track record of success
  • What perspective does our organization have in regards to the regulatory environment we operate in and what, if any, reform is appropriate for the banking industry

Addressing the first topic of the interview was the easy part. As I’ve already shared with you in previous submissions to our E-newsletter, our success is driven 100% by our people. At Merchants, we have made talent acquisition, retention and development a critical strategic priority. Nobody on our Merchants team is perfect, but we are purposeful in filling our team with difference-makers, people capable of providing great customer service and demonstrating community leadership.

Everybody on our team understands the importance of living up to our brand promise of being the Bank that Service Built. When we fall short of meeting our customers’ expectations, as we at times do, our goal is to learn from our mistakes and take the opportunity to get better.

Something that does create conflict at times with our intense desire to be customer-centric in all that we do is regulatory requirements. As I shared in the Star Tribune article, I do believe strongly that the banking industry – particularly the community banking sector – is over-regulated.

There is no question that there was a need for reform coming out of the Great Recession, and that increased regulation was enacted with the hope of protecting consumers. Unfortunately, corrective action resulted in unintended consequences associated with intense regulatory burden. As you may have experienced yourself, getting loans is more cumbersome, more costly and more onerous in terms of documentation today than prior to these regulations.

I believe strongly there needs to be some regulatory burden normalization. The reality is that for Merchants Bank we are fortunate to be of adequate size to absorb the additional burden and stay the course in being a major contributor to the economic vitality of our communities and this region. We have been able to put processes and best practices in place to help our customers work through documentation requirements. We rely on our team members to understand the impact of regulations and guide customers step-by-step through borrowing transactions.

In the community bank space, I believe we are driven to be as customer-centric as we can be in light of regulatory requirements. Banks like Merchants… with significant presence in outstate markets… are tremendous drivers of the economic vitality of the communities we serve. Playing that important role is one of the most rewarding things about this profession. The work we get to do each day allows us to have a powerful impact in changing people’s lives in positive ways.