Merchants Bank in the Twin Cities Sees Significant Loan Growth


Lawrence Stovern, Regional President of Merchants Bank – Twin Cities

Merchants Bank in the Twin Cities enjoyed commercial loan growth of 16.5% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to 2015, according to Lawrence Stovern, Regional President of Merchants Bank in the Twin Cities.

Stovern shared the news with the Merchants Bank Twin Cities Advisory Board Members James Trenda, Peggy Johnson and James Emond during the group’s April Board meeting before releasing the information to the public. Trenda, a CPA, is President of CP Advisors LLC. Johnson is Community Relations Director for Dakota County Electric Association and Emond is a realtor with Remax Advantage Plus.

“Our leadership here in the Twin Cities is pleased that we continue to show excellent loan growth, just as we have shown over the past several years,”Stovern said. “It’s gratifying to see our market share grow, and our bank leadership and board are dedicated to meeting our goals of helping businesses in the Twin Cities start and expand.”

Through the first quarter, net income for the Twin Cities locations was at $560,000, and Stovern reported that the Twin Cities locations were on plan to meet goals for net income for the year. Stovern also shared Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI), which owns the Twin Cities Merchants Bank locations, reported overall first quarter income of $3,253,475. Trenda is also a member of the MFGI Board.

“Part of our growing success in the Twin Cities has to do with the excellent group of commercial bankers we have on staff. They are knowledgeable and dedicated to finding solutions for our customers,”Stovern said. “Another key has been the input of our Advisory Board in helping us to identify businesses who could benefit from the expertise our bankers can provide.”

Country Style Spare Ribs from the Merchants Bank Family Cookbook


Ingredients for Marinade:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Enough water to cover ribs


Mix all ingredients together. Pour mixture over ribs. Add enough water to cover ribs. Simmer, covered, until done, about 2 hours, checking to see if tender.

Place on broiler pan or grill and brush on the following BBQ sauce:

  • ½ cup miracle whip
  • 1 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 4 Tbsp. hot sauce
  • 2 drops of Tabasco sauce

Grill or broil for a few minutes.

Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove Acquires a New Location


Lawrence Stovern President/Commercial Banker

Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove will be moving to a new location in Cottage Grove this Fall, according to Lawrence Stovern, Regional President for Merchants Bank in the Twin Cities.

The current Merchants Bank location in Cottage Grove, 7200 East Point Douglas Road South, has been sold to Hy-Vee, and Merchants has acquired the former Famous Dave’s restaurant at 8479 East Point Douglas Road South, Stovern said.

Merchants Bank Cottage Grove Branch Manager Randy Bachman said Merchants will start construction on its new facility the week of May 9 and construction will continue throughout the Summer. Bachman said he expects Merchants will move into the new facility sometime in October.

“This process will be seamless for our customers. We’ll continue to do business in our current location until the day of the move and then be open for business the next day without any interruption,”Bachman said.

Stovern said the motivation for the sale of the current location and purchase of the new location was about being a good neighbor in the community.

“We recognize Hy-Vee’s plans to bring a new store to Cottage Grove as something that is good for the economic vitality of the community,”Stovern said. “For us, as a community bank, that made the choice to sell easy. It is a win for everyone involved.”

New Staff and Promotions

Learn more about new team members and recent promotions.

SilvaHernandezAlejandraAlejandra Hernandez Silva has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Lakeville. Alejandra previously worked at Kohl’s as a Floor Associate. Alejandra is excited to be working at Merchants.




HussainGuledGuled Hussain Ali has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller at our Rochester Green Meadows location. Guled previously worked at Bakers Square as a Host and is also a volunteer soccer coach.




JensenBradyBrady Jensen has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Winona. Brady previously worked at St. Croix Airport Retail, Lunds & Byerlys and Bruegger’s Bagels. He is a freshman at Winona State University majoring in Marketing and a minor in Management. He is from Savage, Minnesota and enjoys being outdoors.



JohnsonCatherineCatherine Johnson has transferred in her role as a Part Time Teller from Red Wing to Lakeville. She will be moving to the Lakeville area this summer. Catherine has been with Merchants since 2015.




KinneyTimTim Kinney has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Onalaska. Tim previously worked at House on the Rock Resort as a Golf Sales Assistant. He is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Tim is an avid sports fan and his hobbies include playing football, basketball, and soccer. He also enjoys spending time with friends, hiking, and traveling.



KringsMarcusMarcus Krings has transferred from his role as an Electronic Banking Representative to a Credit Card Specialist in Winona. Marcus has been with Merchants since 2012. He previously worked at Winona National Bank as a Lead Teller/Customer Service Representative. He is looking forward to learning a new area of the bank and is working hard to provide the same level of customer service people have come to expect.



StManeYeleanaYeleana St. Mane has transferred from her role as a Part Time Teller at our Rochester Green Meadows location to a Full Time Teller at our Rochester Northwest location. Yeleana has been with Merchants since July and previously worked at Michaels Restaurant for 12 years.





Arrie Teale has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Winona. Arrie is a junior at Winona State University majoring in Business Administration and Human Resources. She previously worked at Festival Foods. Arrie loves to work out and is training for her fourth half-marathon. She also loves cats and hopes to own at least two of her own someday.



ThruneChrisChris Thrune has transferred from his role as a Part Time Teller to a Part Time Electronic Banking Representative in Winona. Chris has been with Merchants since 2013. He is currently a junior at Winona State University majoring in Finance with an Accounting minor.

May and June Events: Please Join Us


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

5/21 Spring Grove Syttende Mai Parade: 1:30 p.m.
Located on Main Street in Spring Grove
6/1-6/15 Rushford Dairy Days Celebration: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in RushfordPlease join us for cheese sticks and ice cream treats in our lobby to celebrate Dairy Days.
6/1 Spring Grove Music in the Park/Community Appreciation
Food served at 6:00 p.m., music starts at 6:30 p.m.Join our Spring Grove staff for music in the park, a meal and ice cream treats and milk to celebrate June Dairy Days.
6/3, 6/10, 6/17 and 6/24 Hampton Dairy Days Celebration: 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in HamptonPlease join us for root beer floats in our lobby to celebrate Dairy Days. 
6/12 Trinona Triathlon
At Lake Park in Winona 
6/13-6/30 Lanesboro Dairy Days Celebration: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Lanesboro
Please join us for cheese sticks and ice cream treats in our lobby to celebrate Dairy Days.
6/17 Caledonia Dairy Days Celebration: 10:00 a.m-2:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in CaledoniaPlease join us for ice cream treats in our lobby to celebrate Dairy Days. 
6/17 Cannon Falls Dairy Days Celebration: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls Goodhue County Dairy Royalty will serve treats in our lobby. 
6/18 Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest Parade: 10:30 a.m.
Located on the corner of 80th and Jamaica Streets 
6/18 Rushford/Peterson Gammel Dag Days Parade: 1:00 p.m.
Located in Peterson 
6/18 26th Annual Winona Pancake Breakfast: 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.
At Merchants Bank Winona-Downtown
$5.00 per person • $17.00 per family • Children 6 and under FREE

Open to the public. Parking available in Bank parking lot, located at the corner of Third and Walnut Streets. Enter by driving East on Second Street. 

6/19 Winona Steamboat Days Grande Parade: 12:31 p.m.
Located on Broadway Street in Winona
6/24 Red Wing Dairy Days Celebration: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Red WingGoodhue County Dairy Royalty will serve treats in our lobby. 
6/25 Lewiston Heartland Days Parade: 6:30 p.m.
Located on Main Street in Lewiston
6/28 Caledonia Music in the Park: 7:00 p.m.
At Veterans Memorial Park in Caledonia Join our Caledonia staff for music in the park. We will be serving hot dog, chips, a cookie and a beverage starting at 5:00 p.m. 


Growth for Merchants Bank in Rochester Contributes Significantly to Excellent First Quarter for Merchants Financial Group, Inc.


John Doyle, President of Merchants Bank in Rochester

Merchants Bank in Rochester enjoyed strong growth in the first quarter of 2016, contributing to the overall growth of Merchants Financial Group Inc. (MFGI), according to John Doyle, President of Merchants Bank in Rochester.

Merchants Bank in Rochester, at Northwest Plaza and Green Meadows, enjoyed 17.1% commercial loan growth in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the same quarter in 2015. Deposits were up 17.9% over the previous year. Earnings in Rochester grew 12.4% over the first quarter last year.

“This performance reflects the success our team members are having in helping businesses, individuals and families meet their financial needs,”Doyle said. “This is what we find most rewarding.”

The MFGI Board of Directors, which includes Rochester businessman Bruce Ryan, President of Ryan Windows & Siding, Inc., approved a dividend of 55 cents a share during its quarterly meeting, an increase of two cents per share.

MFGI realized net income of $3,253,475 for the first quarter, which is slightly ahead of what MFGI forecasted for this point in the year. Last year, the Rochester Banks were also significant contributors to MFGI’s 2015 record year of $13,454,698 in net income. Overall asset size of the organization is currently at $1.592 billion. Merchants is the sixth largest bank chartered in Minnesota.

MFGI ownership is made up of its nearly 450 employees, which own 18 percent of the Bank through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), and shareholders, mostly individual and families throughout the region. MFGI stock is closely held, but it is available to interested investors through contacting their brokers or through contacting Merchants Investment Services.

“Our team members are proud of their ownership interest in our organization, and it is reflected in the way we strive to treat our customers,”Doyle said. “It is also heartening that others see the value of our organization. Our stock has been performing well. We experienced a 12.5% increase in stock value last year.”

Should You Choose a HELOC or Second Mortgage?


If you’re planning for a large purchase, such as a home renovation, new car or college tuition, you might be considering using the equity in your home as a funding source. But how do you decide between a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or Second Mortgage? In addition to learning about the different terms, payment options and other variables, ask yourself these three important questions:

Fixed rate or variable rate: What’s your preference?
Some people prefer the stability of a fixed rate, which is available through a Second Mortgage, while a HELOC rate is variable. Your comfort level with a variable rate loan may push you toward one option or the other.

How are you planning to use the funds?
Since a HELOC or Second Mortgage can be used for a variety of purposes, it may seem hard to choose between the two. However, start by considering why you need the additional cash. In some cases, you might have very specific plans. For example, you know that you need $8,000 for your daughter’s wedding in June or $6,000 to purchase and install a new furnace.

When you have a specific dollar amount in mind, a Second Mortgage might make the most sense, especially if you aren’t planning to borrow again. If you need access to funds off and on over a longer timeframe and are unsure of the total cost, a HELOC may be the better choice. For example, if you have a home improvement project in the works or plan on payment for tuition over multiple years.

How would you describe your money management skills?
In addition to how you will use the money, it’s important to consider your own personal money management habits. For a simple comparison, think about how you might use a credit card.

Do you have a tendency to over-extend yourself financially when you have access to credit? If having an open-ended line of credit – like a credit card – and it makes it difficult for you to stay within your budget, a Second Mortgage could be the better option. With a Second Mortgage, you have a set payment schedule and repayment amount. This option provides more structure for those money managers who need, or prefer, it.

However, if you manage the outstanding balance on your credit card with discipline – by making regular payments and not carrying a large balance – a HELOC could be a reasonable option for you. With a HELOC, your monthly payment amount is based on your outstanding balance, so it changes as you use the line. A HELOC provides a lot of flexibility. For disciplined money managers, a Home Equity Line of Credit may be the right answer.

Our Personal Banking experts can also help you determine which type of loan is best for your situation. To get started, find your local Merchants Bank branch or apply online now:

Loans are subject to credit approval.