Congratulations and Thank You, Rod

EvansGreg

Greg Evans, President & CEO

By Greg Evans, Incoming President & CEO

At the end of January, Rod Nelson retired from his role as President & Chief Executive Officer for the Merchants organization. In his 17 years at Merchants, Rod provided remarkable leadership for the Bank and challenged all of us to be committed to an ongoing pursuit of excellence.

Space doesn’t permit me to share all that I have learned during my 17 years of having the good fortune to work with and for Rod. One thing that I will never forget is Rod’s leadership drive to making sure our customers are not just satisfied, but truly pleased. It is my hope that as you read this edition of our e-newsletter that you are one of the many customers we have who falls into the truly pleased category. If we haven’t earned that from you yet, please know we are working toward that end.

With Rod as our leader, we adopted an excellence creed, and I think it’s appropriate that it be shared with you:

For us, excellence is an aspiration, an attitude, a pursuit, a way of life. Excellence is all of us working together, aspiring to the fullness of our potential – determined to do everything better than it ever has been done before.

John B. Hall as adopted by Merchants Bank

Rod set excellence as the target with intention and humility. While some might suggest that perfection be the more appropriate target, Rod was always the first to admit that he was not capable of meeting a standard of perfection so he could not establish that expectation for the rest of us. What Rod always expected of those of us with leadership responsibility is that we were truly committed to that ongoing pursuit of excellence and always looking for opportunities to do things better than we have done before.

I’m not big into making New Year’s resolutions. But as I succeed Rod as the next President & CEO for the Merchants organization, I am resolute in maintaining the pursuit of excellence as a pillar of our corporate culture. That should translate to you and all of our customers in our living up to the brand promise of being the Bank that Service built. We truly appreciate your business and will work continually to earn your loyalty as a customer we hope is truly pleased… exactly the way our retired and respected leader would expect.

Meet Mike Swanson, Commercial Banker

Mike Swanson, Commercial Banker

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.