Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Posts Earnings of $2,090,285 for the First Quarter of 2017; Pays 56 Cents Per Share Dividend

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Greg Evans, President & CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced net income of $2,090,085 through the first quarter of 2017, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

“Our core earnings continue to be strong and remain on target,” Evans said. “I am optimistic about our continued growth.”

During its April meeting the MFGI Board of Directors approved a semiannual dividend of 56 cents per share to shareholders. Last year, the MFGI Board raised the dividend twice from 53 cents to 55 cents per share and then from 55 cents to 56 cents per share.

Evans said net income is slightly behind MFGI’s plan for the first quarter and behind 2016’s pace, when MFGI celebrated record earnings. He said first quarter earnings were augmented by an additional $1.1 million in loan loss reserve put aside to cushion against possible future loan stress.

“This precautionary action is prudent and consistent with conservative banking principles that have served us so well over the years. The loans for which we added the reserves remain active, and we believe that over time the outcomes will be positive,” Evans said.

Evans noted that MFGI stock is continuing to trade at or near record prices. At the end of the first quarter, stock was trading at $59.50 per share, up from $45.01 a year ago and $54.40 at the end of 2016.

“My expectation and the expectation of the MFGI Board is that we will continue to build on the success model we have put in place,” 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. 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 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.

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 Financial Group, Inc. Reports Record Year to Shareholders and Appoints Directors

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Greg Evans, President & CEO

During its annual meeting Thursday, the shareholders of Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) heard about the organization’s second consecutive record year, re-elected two Directors and elected a new Director to the MFGI Board of Directors.

Re-elected to three-year terms as Directors were: Kenneth J. Mogren, Retired President Winona Agency, Inc., and Richard T. Lommen, Jr., President/Owner Courtesy Corporation. Elected to a three-year term was Gregory M. Evans, President & Chief Executive Officer, Merchants Financial Group. Also recognized was Rodney R. Nelson, who retired as MFGI President & CEO and the MFGI Board at the end of January, 2017. Evans succeeded Nelson. Also recognized for his long service was MFGI Director David H. Keller, Retired President Lucas Body Systems, NA. Keller retired in 2016 after 31 years of service to the MFGI Board, including more than 15 as Board Chairman.

“One of the reasons we were able to experience a second consecutive record year has been the leadership of the MFGI Board of Directors and the leadership Rod exhibited as MFGI President and CEO,” Evans said. “With the support of our customers, shareholders and employees, we look forward to meeting our responsibility to continue to grow this exceptional community banking organization.”

During the meeting, Evans formally reported MFGI’s 2016 record year of $14,154,891 in net income, surpassing 2015’s record year if $13,454,698. Other high points reported were a loan growth increase of 6.8% over 2015. Deposits increased by 9.1% and MFGI’s share price grew 27.25% in 2016, ending 2016 at $54.50 per share. Total assets ended 2016 at $1.623 billion.

“Our shareholders provide all of us with exceptional support,” Evans said. “We are fortunate to be able to formally celebrate our achievements with them and look forward to the year ahead.”

Evans, Chief Financial Officer Sue Savat, and Chief Credit Officer Mark McGrory were featured speakers during the meeting.

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

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.

Merchants Announces Record Earnings of $14,154,891 in 2016

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Rod Nelson, President/CEO

Preliminary net income numbers show that for the second consecutive year Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) has realized record earnings with $14,154,891 in 2016, according to MFGI President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson. The numbers are subject to final audit.

This year’s earnings surpassed last year’s record of $13,454,698. Nelson noted that 2016 also saw two dividend increases for shareholders, going from 53 cents to 55 cents per share in the Spring, and 55 cents to 56 cents per share in the Fall. MFGI share price started the year at $42.75 and was $54.40 at year-end.

“Our employees provided exceptional service and guidance to our customers to help them achieve their financial goals, and through doing that drove our income in the areas of mortgage activity, loan growth and credit card income,” said Nelson, who is retiring Tuesday, January 31, after 17 years with the Merchants organization.

Nelson noted that total loan growth was 7.2% over 2015. Deposits increased by 9.1% and MFGI’s capital grew from $139 million at year end 2015 to $150.1 million at year end 2016, an 8% increase. Total assets ended the year at $1.623 billion.

Nelson said five locations –Winona, Onalaska, Rochester, Lakeville and Hastings –and the company’s leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, topped $1 million in earnings.

“We believe that our focus on community banking and the power our local leaders have to make decisions, along with the lending capabilities that come with a bank of our size, make us unique in our industry and the best choice for individuals and businesses across our region,” Nelson said.

Greg Evans, who has been with the organization 28 years and is currently Chief Banking Officer, will succeed Nelson as MFGI President & CEO.

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

All in One Accounting Founder & CEO Heide Olson Named to the Merchants Bank Twin Cities Advisory Board of Directors

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Heide Olson, All in One Accounting Founder & CEO

All in One Accounting Founder & CEO Heide Olson has been named to the Merchants Bank Twin Cities Advisory Board of Directors, according to Lawrence Stovern, Regional President for Merchants Bank in the Twin Cities.

“Heide is well known and respected throughout the area both as a successful entrepreneur and a trusted advisor to many, many successful companies,”Stovern said. “We are excited to have a person with her history of building relationships and insight  providing guidance to our Board.”

Olson, a CPA, started All in One Accounting, Inc. in 2004. The company offers an unrivaled method to customized documented accounting solutions to fill short-term to longer-term needs. The company’s unique business model provides specialized help ranging from a bookkeeper to a Chief Financial Officer. The company was named one of the 100 Minnesota businesses to work for in 2015 and 2016 by Minnesota Business Magazine.

“I respect Merchants Bank’s unique community banking model because it puts such great emphasis on building relationships and exceeding the needs of clients. We do the same in our business,”Olson said. “That is one reason I’m proud to formalize my commitment and join the Board.”

Olson has an impressive history of community involvement. She is the former finance chair of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). She also served on the Board of the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, which helps children in need of pediatric care in the Los Cabos region of Mexico.

Olson is a native of Granite Falls and a graduate of St. Thomas. She and her husband, Tarryl, have four children and live in Eagan.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Twin Cities locations in Rosemount, Hastings, Cottage Grove, Lakeville and Apple Valley. Other Minnesota locations include  Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent and Spring Grove. Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.