Meet Rebekah Hicks, Electronic Banking Specalist


Rebekah and her daughter, Amelia

Tell us about your banking career.

Rebekah: I started my banking career in 2006 in a large corporate bank. Since then I have a worked in a variety of financial institutions. I chose Merchants as my career home because the size is small enough to provide our customers with hometown service, yet large enough to be competitive in our region.

What is your top electronic banking tip?

Rebekah: Whether it is a business or a personal banking product, decide what is important to you as a consumer and find a bank that falls in line with those values. Merchants Bank is the bank that service built. Meaning we are driven by your fellow community members who work and play alongside you. We are your neighbors working for you to better our community.

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

Rebekah: A lesson of financial responsibility that I remember my brother and I learning from our parents was budgeting. They presented this visually by having three separate jars for each of us. One was for spending, one was for saving and the other was for giving.

We set a dollar amount as a goal one summer to work towards with our savings, at the end of the summer we were rewarded for meeting our savings goal with a gaming console. The reward associated with our savings is a life lesson we both carried with us into adulthood and hope to share with our children.

If you could ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, who would you want to ring it with?

Rebekah: Getting to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange would be a unique and exciting experience I would like to share with my daughter. It sounds like it would make a great stop on a memorable family vacation also allowing for us to get to see all the other sites the city has to offer.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Rebekah: Besides money, my favorite green thing is the next best thing to money – it’s my Merchants Bank Debit Card. I really enjoy the convenience of not having to carry cash for all my purchases.

To meet our entire Electronic Banking team, visit our website.

Trust Department News: Announcing New Staff and Retirements

By Greg Evans, President/Chief Banking Officer

I am pleased to share some important news regarding the staffing in our Trust Department.

Retirement Announcements

After more than 20 years of dedication and providing excellent service, long-time trust officers Sara Brandon and Terry Hawkings, have announced their retirements. We greatly appreciate their contributions to Merchants, our clients and our community.


Monika Lovewell

Terry’s retirement was celebrated with our Trust team the week of October 10 and her last day with Merchants was Friday, October 14. Sara will continue in her current Trust Officer role until year-end. All of us at Merchants wish them well during this exciting transition and especially thank them for their dedicated years of service to their clients.

Introducing New Trust Experts

In preparing for these retirements, we have been recruiting new talent and expertise for our Trust Department. To that end, I am excited to introduce Monika Lovewell, our new Trust Department Manager, and Martin Oines, our new Trust Officer. Monika is an estate planning attorney, a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor, and former Senior Trust Officer with another firm.


Martin Oines

Martin is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERpractitioner, and also has experience as a Senior Trust Administrator. Both bring considerable expertise and experience in trust administration and financial planning to Merchants. I couldn’t be more pleased about the experience and expertise we have been able to attract to our Trust team to continue serving you.

Monika and Martin look forward to continuing to provide the specialized trust services and expertise you have come to expect from our Trust team.

Greg Evans
Chief Banking Officer/President

Congratulate New and Promoted Staff

New Staff

austaderickaEricka Austad, Teller, Rushford
Ericka also currently works at Rosemount Apiaries as a Beekeeper and at Burdey’s Cafe as a Server. She is a former middle school teacher and has a five-year-old son, Lars. She enjoys kayaking, biking and hiking in the bluffs.



cayatedTed Caya, Teller, Eau Claire
Ted also works at H&R Block as a Tax Professional. He is a junior at UW-Eau Claire pursing his Business Administration degree.





Bailey Ekberg, Teller, Winona
Bailey previously worked at Green Mill as a Hostess. She is a sophomore at Winona State University, studying Accounting and Management Information Systems. Bailey’s favorite season is fall because the weather is so perfect. She enjoys reading and hanging out with her roommates.



faklermeghanMeghan Fakler, Teller, Winona-Goodview
Meghan previously worked at Affinity Plus as a Member Advisor and at HyVee as an Assistant Manager. She and her fiancé, Drew will be getting married in July 2017. Meghan has been a competitive bowler for 20 years.




feldmeierjeanneJeanne Feldmeier, Part-Time Teller, Rushford
Jeanne previously worked in banking for many years at Winona National Bank and Associated Bank and also worked as an Accounting Specialist at Semcac. She recently retired, but wanted to come back to banking part-time. Jeanne is married and has three grown children and one grandchild.



goetzingerleighLeigh Goetzinger, Customer Service Representative, Caledonia
Leigh previously worked at Merchants for two years as a Teller. She has two daughters and two sons. She also has a granddaughter and grandson that she absolutely loves spending all of her spare time with.




oinesmartinMartin Oines, Trust Officer, Winona-Downtown
Martin brings more than 20 years of experience in investment management and trust administration to his position, most recently as Senior Trust Administrator with Wells Fargo in Minneapolis. He is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor and a Certified Financial Planner practitioner.



russellkelseyKelsey Russell, Lead Teller, Hastings
Kelsey previously worked at Coborn’s Liquor as the Assistant Liquor Store Manager. Kelsey and her husband have one daughter. Kelsey enjoys being outdoors walking, playing tennis and skiing. She also has a pet benny named Bun-Bun.



whalenkallyKalley Whalen, Electronic Banking Specialist, Winona-Downtown
Kally previously worked at Green Mill Restaurant as the General Manager. She is recently married and her and her husband just purchased their first home together. Kally enjoys camping and spending time with her family.


Promotions and Transfers

brinkkarleyKarley Brink, Retail Lending Assistant, Winona-Downtown
Karley has been with Merchants since 2011. She was previously an Electronic Banking Representative, Teller and most recently a Loan Servicing Representative in Winona.

November Events


For more information on upcoming events, visit our Facebook page. 

11/17 Cottage Grove Open House and Ribbon Cutting
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. with Ribbon Cutting at 1:00 p.m., 
Merchants Bank-Cottage Grove

Help us celebrate the Opening of our new Cottage Grove location at 8479 East Point Douglas Road S. Light refreshments will be served. 

11/28-12/7 Swipe Out Hunger

Vote for your local food shelf on our Facebook page to help them win a top donation of $5,000. Voting opens on Monday, November 28 at 12:00 p.m.

Martin Oines Joins the Merchants Bank as Trust Officer


Martin Oines

Martin Oines has joined the Merchants Bank Trust Department as a Vice President and Trust Officer, according to Greg Evans, Merchants Bank’s President and Chief Banking Officer.

Oines brings more than 20 years of experience in investment management and trust administration to the position, most recently as a Senior Trust Administrator with Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.

“Wealth management is a growing and important area for us at Merchants. To help provide our current and future customers with the best possible guidance, we have been fortunate enough to recruit some exceptional professionals to our organization,” Evans said. “Martin’s knowledge of investments and dedication to customer outcomes will be a benefit to the people he serves.”

Oines joins Monika Lovewell, who was named Trust Department Manager earlier this year. Evans said their combination of experience and ability should provide Merchants Bank Trust Department customers with an exceptional opportunity to build, manage, preserve and transition their wealth.

“Martin is a Certified Financial Planner, and his depth of knowledge in investment management complements Monika’s expertise in estate planning and the legal aspects of trust work,” Evans said.

Lovewell, who holds a law degree from George Washington University and is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor, said she is looking forward to working with Oines.

“Certainly, I think it will be great for us at Merchants, but the real winners will be our customers,” Lovewell said. “I invite the public to give Martin a call.”

The Merchants Bank Trust Department helps individuals and families establish comprehensive wealth plans that identify their needs, goals and resources for retirement. Trust services may include portfolio management and estate planning, as well as acting as an agent under power of attorney or as personal representative for estates.

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. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

President & CEO Rodney Nelson to Retire January 2017; Greg Evans to Succeed Nelson


From L-R: Greg Evans and Rod Nelson

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson will retire as of January 31, 2017. Winona Market President and Chief Banking Officer Greg M. Evans will take over the position after Nelson’s retirement, according to Scott Biesanz, Chairman of the MFGI Board of Directors.

Nelson joined the organization in 2000, and will retire after 17 years with the organization, including the past three as MFGI President & CEO. Before serving as President & CEO, Nelson was President of Merchants Bank for the Winona Charter and Executive Vice President for MFGI.

Biesanz noted that in Nelson’s time with Merchants, the organization has experienced significant growth. MFGI had a record year in 2015, posting net income of $13,454,698. Current asset size is $1.654 billion. When Nelson joined the organization in 2000, asset size was $440,288,106. When Nelson took over as MFGI President & CEO at the beginning of 2014, asset size was $1.366 billion. Today, Merchants has 450 employees serving 21 locations in west-central Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota. MFGI stock is currently trading at an all-time high, $48.50, as of Wednesday.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the great team of talented professionals at Merchants. My co-workers have made it their goal to exceed our customers’expectations every day. That has helped our customers flourish, and because of their success, the communities we serve have grown and Merchants has grown. It has been very gratifying to be a part of that,”Nelson said. “I know that Greg will continue to help our organization excel for the benefit of our customers, shareholders and employees, just as he has done in his current role.”

Evans has been with the Merchants organization for 27 years. He served in the Marketing Department from 1989 to 2007, the last five years as Senior Vice President of Marketing. In 2007, he was named Regional President for Hampton, Cannon Falls, and Red Wing when Merchants Bank acquired those locations. In 2013, Evans was named president of the Winona Market and Chief Banking Officer, providing leadership for all Merchants Bank locations.

“I am truly honored that our Board of Directors has provided me with this leadership opportunity, and am humbled by the responsibility that comes with following Rod. He is an exceptional community banker and has been an extraordinary mentor for all of us at Merchants. I share Rod’s passion for community banking and the ongoing pursuit of excellence. We will continue to strive to grow as an independent community Bank and as a leader in contributing to the economic vitality of this Region. We have an awesome team and will continue to focus on taking care of customers. I look forward to my new role,” Evans said.

MFGI owns 21 Merchants Bank 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. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

The ownership of Merchants Financial Group is made up of its 450 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.