Merchants’ Second Quarter Earnings Report Shows Stable Performance and Continued COVID-19 Relief Assistance

Greg Evans, President & CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) has announced financial results for the second quarter and details about COVID-19 assistance provided to its customers, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

Second quarter earnings of $8,442,992 were behind MFGI’s 2020 plan by $346,298 and behind 2019 mid-year results by $484,989. June earnings were profitable for MFGI even though the Company reversed $4 million out of income in the form of additional Allowance for Loan/Lease Loss Reserves as a precautionary measure to cover potential loan risk as the challenging economic situation continues to unfold.

“Our profitable performance through two quarters is a source of pride for our extraordinary employee team, which has been intensely focused on assisting our customers and communities experiencing hardship due to the COVID pandemic,” said Evans. “Most gratifying is the feedback I’ve received from clients who are appreciative of how our bankers have been available to them in serving as trusted advisors at this difficult time.”

Since March, Merchants has provided relief to more than 1,300 consumer and business loan customers in good standing in the form of loan payment deferment programs across all product categories. The Bank continues to assist business customers across its footprint with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) financing through the Small Business Administration and will be accepting applications through the August 8, 2020 deadline. Merchants has been one of Minnesota’s PPP banking leaders, originating more than 1,500 loans with total volume of approximately $200 million. In addition, Merchants reported a 16.1% increase in deposits and origination volume of $478 million of residential mortgage loans through the first half of the year, as customers take advantage of the current interest rate environment.

“We want our customers and communities to know that Merchants will continue to be a source of assistance for those hit hardest by the pandemic and that we take our responsibility as a community bank seriously. We’re here to be your financial partner as you navigate challenges in the coming months,” Evans noted.

The ownership of Merchants Financial Group, Inc. 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 is a full service community bank with 21 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.1 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc Reports Year to Shareholders and Appoints Directors to Its Board

Greg Evans, President & CEO

During its annual meeting, which was held virtually with participation of shareholders by phone on Thursday, April 2, Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI), reported strong 2019 financial results and shareholders re-elected two Directors and elected one new Director to the MFGI Board.

MFGI formally reported net income of $19,767,215 for 2019, a 4.7% increase over 2018 earnings. There was business growth on both sides of the Company’s balance sheet with year-end 2019 total deposits of $1.8 billion and total loans/leases of $1.7 billion. MFGI ended 2019 with $2.1 billion in consolidated assets, making Merchants the fifth largest banking organization chartered in the state of Minnesota.

“Given current events impacting all of us, last year seems like a very, very long time ago,” said Gregory M. Evans, MFGI President & Chief Executive Officer. “We certainly are proud of our continued business growth and performance of record last year, but our entire focus right now is placed on taking care of our friends and neighbors, and being here as a trusted advisor for our customers and communities.”

Re-elected to three-year terms as Directors were: Gregory M. Evans, President & CEO for MFGI and Merchants Bank and Richard T. Lommen, Owner/Operator & President for Courtesy Corporation. Elected as a new member of the Board of Directors to a three-year term was Bradley J. Peterson, Chairman & Chief Acquisition Officer for Mississippi Welders Supply. Peterson has served on the Merchants Bank, N.A., Charter Board since April of 2019.

At the meeting retiring Directors Ken Mogren and Mike Cunningham were recognized. Mogren, retired President of Winona Agency (now WA Group), has provided Board leadership for the MFGI and Merchants Bank Charter Boards for more than 15 years. Mike Cunningham, Partner of La Crescent Property Ventures, LLC and former CEO/Owner of The Board Store Furniture and Home Improvements, served on the Merchants Bank Charter Board for five years and retired in 2019 from the MFGI Board after 15 years of service.

The ownership of Merchants Financial Group is made up of it’s more than 480 employees and shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 19 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. As the parent company for Merchants Bank, Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) also owns the First National Bank of Northfield, with two banking offices in Northfield and a loan production office in Bloomington, MN. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.1 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875.

Brad Peterson Elected to Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors

Brad Peterson, Charter Board of Directors

Brad Peterson, Chairman & Chief Acquisition Officer for Mississippi Welders Supply, was elected to the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors at its April 16 annual reorganizational meeting, according to Scott Biesanz, Chairman of the Charter Board of Directors.

After graduating from Northwestern University, Brad served in the United States Navy for eight years as a nuclear engineer, surface warfare officer and instructor. Since 1991, he has held leadership positions with Mississippi Welders Supply, a retail and wholesale distributor of welding and industrial supplies, specialty gases, metal fabricating and fire safety equipment. Peterson was named President/Owner of the company in 1999, Chief Acquisition Officer in 2013 and Chairman in 2014.

“Because of his extraordinary leadership experience and business acumen, Brad will be a tremendous asset to our Board as Merchants continues to grow,” Biesanz said. “As the head of an industry leading organization like Mississippi Welders Supply, Brad will contribute insights on business trends throughout our region and a helpful perspective on finding the right balance of traditional business and technology services to enhance company growth.”

Peterson is an active community leader and volunteer. He currently serves as a board member for the Winona Area Industrial Development Association and Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative. He is the President of the Gases and Welding Distributor Association and a member of the American Welding Society and Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

“Community banks play an important role in our local economy and Merchants’ strong position in the region cannot be undervalued,” said Brad. “I’m looking forward to helping provide leadership and strategic direction with such a talented group of board members.”

Peterson lives in Winona with his wife, Gaby. They have two sons. Sam is a Mechanical Engineer in Minneapolis and Chandler is a Sophomore at Loyola University Chicago.

The Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors is responsible for the fiduciary duty to carry on the business of banking and for providing oversight and strategic direction for Merchants while ensuring the safety and soundness of the organization. The Charter Board also provides general counsel associated with Merchants’ commitment to be a recognized community leader throughout the Bank’s service footprint in alignment with its community banking charter.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc Reports Year to Shareholders and Appoints Directors to Its Board

Greg Evans, President & CEO
During its annual meeting on Thursday, April 4, Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) reported strong 2018 financial results, Shareholders re-elected two Directors and elected one new Director to the MFGI Board.

MFGI formally reported net income of $18,887,308 for 2018. Pre-tax earnings were up 11.9% as compared to 2017. There was business growth on both sides of the Company’s balance sheet with year-end 2018 total deposits of $1.435 billion and total loans/leases of $1.424 billion. MFGI ended 2018 with $1.756 billion in consolidated assets, making Merchants the fifth largest banking organization chartered in the state of Minnesota.

“Our Board of Directors helps ensure the Merchants organization stays true to our community banking roots while continuing to provide value to our shareholders. Their guidance, along with the hard work of our employees and the support of our customers and the communities we serve, is what helps us achieve steady business growth and consistently strong earnings performance year after year,” said Gregory M. Evans, MFGI President & Chief Executive Officer.

Re-elected to three-year terms as Directors were: Scott K. Biesanz, Chairman of Goodson Manufacturing Company and James A. Trenda, Founder/Owner/President of CP Advisors, LLC. Elected as a new member of the Board of Directors to a three-year term was John H. Killen, President/CEO of Wincraft, Inc,. Killen has served on the Merchants Bank, N.A., Charter Board since April of 2018.

At the meeting retiring MFGI Director Mike Cunningham was recognized for more than 10 years of service. Mike Cunningham, Partner of La Crescent Property Ventures, LLC and Former CEO/Owner of The Board Store Furniture and Home Improvements, will continue to serve on the Merchants Bank Charter Board and the Bank’s Local Advisory Boards for Onalaska/LaCrescent.

Featured speakers during the meeting included Evans; Susan M. Savat, Chief Financial Officer; Wendy Cagle, Loan Review Officer; and Andrew Guzzo Regional President for Winona and the Southern half of the Company’s service footprint.

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 is a full service community bank with 21 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank has more than $1.75 billion in assets and was founded in 1875.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc Announces Earnings of $13,785,285 through Third Quarter of 2018, Pays 70 Cents Per Share Dividend

Greg Evans, President & CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced a net income of $13,785,285 through the first three quarters of 2018 and significantly increased the semiannual dividend paid to Shareholders, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

“Our core earnings continue to be strong, which in the end benefits all of our customers, the communities we serve and our Shareholders,” said Evans. “We are proud to be a safe, strong bank with growth that allows us to contribute to the economic vitality of this specific region, where all of our resource deployment is focused.”

Net income is $3.1 million ahead of MFGI’s plan for 2018 and is an increase of $4.94 million compared to last year. Several Merchants Bank locations and the Merchants Bank Equipment Finance and Mortgage Operations divisions exceeded their respective performance forecasts through three quarters.

During its October meeting, the MFGI Board of Directors approved a dividend of 70 cents per share to shareholders, up from 61 cents per share for the first half of the year. The semiannual dividends paid to Merchants’ Shareholders for 2018 is an increase of 18% compared to a year ago.

“As is always the case, our strong performance has been the result of a total team effort. I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished together and am optimistic about our performance for the remainder of the year,” said Evans.

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.

Merchants Financial Group is a publicly-traded Company. Ownership is made up of its more than 440 employees and mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc Announces Earnings of $9,152,505 through Second Quarter of 2018

Greg Evans, President & CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced net income of $9,152,505 through the first two quarters of 2018, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

“This quarter’s performance was a true team effort – every one of our Bank Regions and our Merchants Bank Equipment Finance division exceeded its respective income plan for the first half of the year,” said Evans.

Net income is ahead MFGI’s plan by $2.1 million and is an increase of 53.51% compared to 2017 second quarter earnings. Some key contributors to the quarter’s financial performance include: strong loan volume in both the commercial and residential mortgage lending, a continued prudent focus on credit quality, and a decrease in loan loss reserve contribution as compared to last year.

“Our second quarter earnings enable us to help grow the communities we serve,” said Evans. “As a community bank, it’s important for us to continue to support our friends and neighbors not only through our personal and commercial banking services, but also monetary contributions to local non-profits.”

As of June 30, 2018, MFGI’s contributions and outstanding non-profit commitments are 3.25% of pre-tax income.

In reflecting on the rest of 2018, Evans said: “I’m looking forwarding to continuing the momentum we’ve had in the beginning of 2018 through the remainder of the year.”

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 Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. 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

Area Business Leader John Killen Elected to the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors

John Killen, Board of Directors

John Killen, President & CEO of WinCraft, Inc., was elected to the Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors at its April 17 meeting, according to Scott Biesanz, Chairman of the Charter Board of Directors.

Since graduating from the University of Kansas in 1985, Killen has spent all but four years of his career with WinCraft, an industry leading manufacturer of licensed and promotional products for retailers, professional sports teams, concessionaires, colleges, businesses, distributors and schools. Killen spent four years working for the NBA during its great resurgence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, developing the corporate premium and promotions business as well as promoting the USA Basketball Dream Team.

“WinCraft is a leader in its field in the country,” Biesanz said. “With that leadership position comes insight to how businesses throughout the region and throughout the country view opportunities for growth. John will be able to share that and more, strengthening our board as we continue to grow.”

In addition to leading nearly 700 employees at Winona-based WinCraft, Killen has contributed his talents to a number of organizations over the years. John serves as a board member for The Vernon Company, Newton, IA, and on various advisory boards at Winona State University and Saint Mary’s University. Recently he’s spent time as a member of the National Marketing and Communications Committee for Ducks Unlimited.

“Merchants is a regional banking leader, and I look forward to lending my experience and knowledge to the Board,” Killen said. “It is a privilege to be able to serve with a group with such a broad base of expertise.”

Killen and his wife Wendy live in Winona. They have two sons. John Jr., 23, is a Marketing Manager at WinCraft and Henry, 21, is a Junior at the University of Kansas.

The Merchants Bank Charter Board of Directors is responsible for the fiduciary duty to carry on the business of banking and for providing oversight and strategic direction for Merchants while insuring the safety and soundness of the organization. Without a separate local Community Advisory Board for Winona, Goodview, St. Charles, Eau Claire, and Merchants Bank Equipment Financing, the Bank’s the Charter Board of Directors serves in this capacity as well for those locations.

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

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Announces Earnings of Nearly $3.95 Million Through the First Quarter of 2018

Greg Evans, President & CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced net income of $3,949,425 through the first quarter of 2018, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

“It has been a very good start to the year thanks to the work of our employees across our locations,” Evans said. Net income for the first quarter was more than $1.8 million ahead of last year.

In acknowledgment of the performance, the MFGI Board of Directors authorized an 8.9% stockholder dividend increase from 56 cents per share to 61 cents per share.

“We had strong and consistent contributions throughout our company. Each of our four Bank regions was ahead of its plan for the year, as were our leasing division and our secondary market mortgage operation. We have experienced year-over-year deposit and loan growth, and we have focused on credit quality,” Evans said. “I am optimistic about the remainder of the year.”

Year-over-year deposit growth was $57.2 million, and year-over-year loan growth was $49.9 million. Mortgage loan volume for the first quarter was $75 million, exceeding the Company’s forecast by $5 million for the quarter. In addition to providing mortgage services for its locations, Merchants also provides correspondent mortgage banking services to more than 62 bank charters with 130 locations across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and North and South Dakota.

MFGI has recorded three consecutive years of record net income. Net income in 2017 was $20,878,465, including $14,297,105 in core earnings, a record on its own, and a $6.5 million accounting adjustment as a result of the reduction of a deferred tax liability, necessitated by the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

MFGI owns 21 Merchants Bank locations, divided into four Bank regions, 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 440 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from Southeastern Minnesota and West-central Wisconsin.

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.

ShareholderMeetingAward

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. Merchlewitz 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 Financial Group, Inc. Announces Record Earnings of $20,878,465 in 2017

Greg Evans, President & CEO

For the third consecutive year Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) has recorded record earnings, ending 2017 with $20,878,465 in net income.

The record earnings report includes $14,297,105 in earnings from Merchants core business activity in 2017, which surpasses 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, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

“We are especially pleased with the work of our team across all of our locations in pushing our core earnings to a record level,” Evans said. “While we appreciate the addition of the extra income that comes from the tax act, it can only be viewed as a one-time addition to our bottom line because of the deferred tax line item on our balance sheet.”

MFGI benefitted from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 primarily because of depreciable assets leased to commercial clients through the Company’s equipment finance division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance (MBEF) in Minneapolis. The corporate tax rate reduction impacted the reduction of that future tax payment liability, creating the additional income accounting adjustment. Because of the significant year-over-year increase in reported net income, the MFGI Board of Directors authorized a special $1 per share dividend to be paid to shareholders. That dividend payment will be made March 30 to shareholders of record as of February 9.

Evans said MFGI’s focus is on the core earnings of the company, and he credited deposit growth, strong mortgage activity and commercial loan growth for contributing to the record year.

“I am exceptionally proud of our team and the work we did together, especially over the last quarter of the year to reach this level of accomplishment,” Evans said, noting that MFGI’s net income through the first three quarters of 2017 was at $8,841,114.

MFGI’s net income was $14,154,891 for 2016 and $13,454,698 for 2015. MFGI’s stock continues to perform well, trading today at $71.00 per share.

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.