Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Reports Third Consecutive Record Year to Shareholders and Appoints Directors to its Board

Greg Evans, President & CEO

During its annual meeting Thursday, April 5 Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) shareholders learned details behind MFGI’s third consecutive record year, re-elected two Directors, elected a new Director and bid farewell to a long-time member of the MFGI Board of Directors.

MFGI Board Member Richard J. Pope, who is retiring from the MFGI Board and the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors, provided shareholders with perspective on MFGI’s long and consistent growth. Pope, the Chairman of the Board, WinCraft, Inc., has served the Merchants organization as a Board member for 36 years.

Joining Pope in making presentations were MFGI President & CEO Greg Evans and MFGI CFO Sue Savat. Savat provided a detailed look at the past year, while Evans provided overall industry perspective and took a look ahead at MFGI’s future.

MFGI formally reported net income of $20,878,465 for 2017. The record earnings report includes $14,297,105 in earnings from Merchants core business activity in 2017, which surpassed 2016’s record earnings total by $140,000 on its own. Additionally, Merchants recorded an accounting adjustment of more than $6.5 million as a result of the reduction of a deferred tax liability, necessitated by the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 occurring before year-end.

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From left to right: Sue Savat, Scott Biesanz, Dick Pope and Greg Evans. Pope was recognized for his 30+ years on the Merchants Financial Group, Inc., Board of Directors and the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors.

“We are thankful for our customers’ trust, the efforts of our employees and the support of our shareholders,” Evans said. “We are especially grateful for the guidance our boards of directors provide to our banks as we grow, sharing their understanding of the communities we serve. Dick (Pope) has been vitally important to our growth because of the insight he has shared, and his influence will continue to be felt as we continue our growth.”

Ann E. Merchlewitz was elected to a three-year term as a new Director for the MFGI Board. Merchlewtiz is Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. A Winona resident, she has been a long-time member of the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors.

Re-elected to three-year terms as Directors were Michael F. Cichanowski, Chief Executive Officer of We-no-nah Canoe, Inc., and Bruce E. Ryan, President of Ryan Windows & Siding, Inc. of Rochester.

Also recognized was Steven G. Kohner, President of Modern Ready Mix, who retired after 15 years on the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors.

Evans also noted that MFGI Director Timothy J. Murphy, Partner at Hammell & Murphy, P.L.L.P. of Caledonia, is stepping off the MFGI Board after many years of service, but will continue as a member of the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of Directors for Caledonia, Lanesboro, Rushford and Spring Grove, where he serves as Board Chairman.

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. 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 more than 440 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Merchants Bank Twin Cities Advisory Board of Directors Reappointed

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Lawrence Stovern, Twin Cities Regional President

The Merchants Bank Advisory Board of Directors for the Twin Cities region has been reappointed, according to Twin Cities Regional President Lawrence Stovern.

Reappointed to their positions on the Board were Board Chairman James A. Trenda, President CP Advisors, LLC; Heide C. Olson, CEO of All In One Accounting; Peggy Johnson, Community Relations Director for Dakota County Electric Association, and James Emond, a realtor with Remax Advantage Plus. The Advisory Board was reappointed at an April 18 meeting of the Merchants Bank Charter Board.

Stovern and Trenda, who is also a member of the Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) Board of Directors, reported about the recent MFGI Annual Meeting April 6 in Winona, where record earnings of $14,154,891 were reported. It was the second consecutive year of record earnings for MFGI.

“We continue to grow in the Twin Cities and contribute to the overall growth of our organization,” Stovern said. “Key to that growth is our ability to build long-term relationships, and that is where our Advisory Board of Directors is so critical.”

Merchants has five locations in the southern Twin Cities, including Apple Valley, Lakeville, Rosemount, Hastings and Cottage Grove. Merchants moved into a new facility in Cottage Grove late in 2016, after selling its previous location to Hy-Vee, to help make way for development in Cottage Grove.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to the Twin Cities locations Minnesota locations include Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton.  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.

Merchants Bank Advisory Board of Directors Reappointed

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Dan Massett, Central Region President

The Merchants Bank Advisory Board of Directors for Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton has been reappointed, according to Central Region President Dan Massett.

Reappointed to their positions on the Advisory Board were Board Chairman John O. Althoff, Retired Owner Althoff Hardware; Leslie M. Anderson, Farmer and Real Estate Agent Edina Realty; Donna R. Anderst, President and Chief Executive Officer SCS Elevator Products, Inc.; Richard A. Peterson, Owner Peterson Turkey Hatchery, Inc.; and Gary Schmidgall, Project Coordinator Hancock Concrete Products, LLC. The Advisory Board was reappointed at an April 18 meeting of the Merchants Bank Charter Board.

Massett said the Advisory Board was initially put in place after Merchants acquired the Cannon Falls and Red Wing locations 10 years ago and has been critical in the success of Merchants Bank in the Region.

“The people on our Board have provided exceptional direction and guidance in helping us to identify businesses that may be the best fit for our community bank,” Massett said. “They are always looking to make the communities we serve better places for business and better places to live. I am thankful for all they’ve done for their neighbors and for Merchants Bank, and I look forward to their continued input as we continue to grow.”

Merchants Bank has 21 locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton, Merchants has Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, 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.

Richard T. Lommen, Jr. Re-elected to Merchants Financial Group, Inc., Board; Onalaska/La Crescent Advisory Board of Directors Reappointed

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Steve Christiansen, Market President – Onalaska and La Crescent

During the Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) Annual Meeting on April 6, area business leader Richard T. Lommen Jr., was re-elected to a three-year term on the MFGI Board.

Lommen is also the Board Chairman for the Merchants Bank Advisory Board of Directors in La Crescent and Onalaska. Lommen, the President/Owner of Courtesy Corporation, is joined on the Advisory Board of Directors by a number of area business leaders.

The members of the Merchants Bank Advisory Board of Directors in La Crescent and Onalaska were reappointed to their roles following an April 18 meeting of the Merchants Bank Charter Board. In addition to Lommen, Advisory Board of Directors include Dean L. Ashbacher, President and Chief Executive Officer Truss Specialists, Inc.; Robert A. Heth, Jr., President Heth Hardware, Inc.; Stephen D. Loehr, Vice President of Operations Support Kwik Trip, Inc., and Michael D. Cunningham, Partner La Crescent Property Ventures L.L.C. and Former CEO and Owner The Board Store Furniture and Home Improvements. Cunningham also serves as a member of the MFGI Board.

“It is gratifying to see the commitment of our advisory board to helping continuing to grow our relationships throughout the area,” said Steve Christiansen, Market President of Merchants Bank in Onalaska and La Crescent. “They are well-known in our area for their knowledge and advocacy for business growth.”

MFGI reported record income for 2016 of $14,154,891, its second year in a row of record income. The Onalaska location was one of the leaders, with nearly $2.2 million in net income.

MFGI owns 21 Merchants Bank locations. In addition to La Crescent and Onalaska, Merchants has Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, 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 another Wisconsin location in Eau Claire. 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.

Merchants Bank Establishes Rochester Advisory Board of Directors

Rochester Advisory Board

Pictured (l-r): Bruce Ryan (Board Chairman), Ryan Windows & Siding; John Beatty, Dunlap & Seeger, P.A.; James Rogers, Mayo Clinic; Melissa Brinkman, Custom Alarm; Aaron Benike, Alvin E. Benike, Inc.

As Merchants Bank continues to grow in Rochester, Merchants has established a Rochester Advisory Board of Directors, according to Advisory Board Chairman Bruce E. Ryan.

“Merchants Bank has continued its growth throughout the area and in Rochester, partly because of our model of local decision making in each market,” said Ryan, who also serves on the Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) Board. MFGI is the holding company that owns Merchants Bank. “As we continue to grow our market share, putting our local Advisory Board in place in Rochester is the next logical step.”

Ryan, President of Ryan Windows & Siding, Inc., has been joined on the Advisory Board by John Beatty, an Attorney at Dunlap & Seeger, Aaron Benike, President and Co-Owner at Benike Construction, Melissa Brinkman, CEO of Custom Alarm, and James Rogers, Chair, Department of Business Development at Mayo Clinic.

“We are fortunate to have this talented group of leaders helping to guide our decisions in Rochester,” said Merchants Bank – Rochester President John Doyle. “They believe in Rochester’s growth potential and know that Merchants Bank has the resources and staff to help individuals and businesses reach and exceed their goals.”

MFGI President and CEO Greg Evans said the Merchants Bank culture is one of the reasons the Advisory Board members chose Merchants.

“It is important to all of our team members to know our customers by name, and to make sure those customers are truly satisfied with their experiences with Merchants Bank,” Evans said. “Our team members spend time volunteering in the community to make it better. That is part of what makes a community bank like ours important to the people we serve. As people who have exhibited a commitment to improving Rochester, I think that is important to our Advisory Board.”

MFGI recently announced its second year in a row of record earnings, with Rochester again being one of the top performers. The Board and Advisory Board leadership structure is well-established in the Merchants culture and has contributed to the growth of the organization.

MFGI owns 21 Merchants Bank locations, including Minnesota locations in Rochester, Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, 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.