Jerad Brown Has Joined Merchants Bank in Rushford and Lanesboro as a Commercial and Ag Banker

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Jerad Brown, Commercial & Ag Banker

Area native Jerad Brown has joined Merchants Bank in Rushford and Lanesboro as a Commercial and Ag Banker, according to Ken Graner, President for Merchants Bank in Rushford and Lanesboro.

“Jerad has the right mix of experience, interest and personality to be successful as a banker and, more importantly, to help our customers grow,” Graner said. “His work in credit analysis and his interest and experience in business and ag will be a benefit to the people he serves.”

For the past two years, Brown has worked with Rushford State Bank as a credit analyst, looking at agriculture and commercial loans, including an emphasis on the Farm Service Agency (FSA) guaranty program. A graduate of Rushford-Peterson High School and South Dakota State University, he served as a member of the South Dakota State University Livestock Judging Team. At SDSU, Brown majored in Agriculture Science and had minors in Animal Science and Agriculture Business.

“The people who live here are my neighbors. I know what’s important to them, and I know how important it is for our local economy for our farms and businesses to succeed,” Brown said. “I look forward to putting my knowledge and energy to work for Merchants Bank and our customers.”

ICS: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

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An Insured Cash Sweep (ICS) account is an easy way to protect your business deposits over $250,000. But how does it work? Learn this and more with these five frequently asked questions.

How does an Insured Cash Sweep account work?
If you want to protect deposits of more than $250,000 (the standard FDIC insurance coverage amount), you can use an ICS account to deposit your money automatically through a network of pre-selected, highly rated banks. Just open your ICS account with Merchants Bank and we do the rest.

An ICS account can be structured as a checking account with our ICS Demand Checking or as a savings account with our ICS Money Market Savings. Both accounts earn interest, allow for unlimited deposits and have no minimum balance requirements.

Why would an ICS account be better than using multiple banks?
Skip the running around and paperwork. With an ICS, you only have to open one account at Merchants to take advantage of the automatic, additional FDIC insurance coverage through the ICS network of banks. Plus, you’ll only have one statement to review.

Who has custody of my funds?
Funds placed through an Insured Cash Sweep are deposited only in FDIC-insured banks. Merchants Bank acts as custodian for your ICS deposits.

How safe is my information and the ICS service?
As always, Merchants Bank takes protecting your information seriously. Your confidential information is not shared with the ICS bank network.

The ICS program has been designed to comply with all FDIC requirements. You can be confident that your deposits are safe and sound.

Are there other account options similar to ICS?
Merchants Bank also offers a CDARS account through the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service. This account provides additional FDIC insurance protection through a Certificate of Deposit account – instead of checking or savings. You can choose from a variety of terms to fit your needs.

Protect your large deposits and enjoy the convenience of having them insured with one bank through ICS. Want to learn more about how your business can benefit from an Insured Cash Sweep account?

References:
*http://www.insuredcashsweep.com/home/faqs/

Meet Tammy Johnson, Cash Management Officer

Tammy Johnson, Cash Management OfficerGet to know Tammy Johnson, our Cash Management Officer and member of our Commercial Banking team. At Merchants, we offer variety of Cash Management services to help businesses improve efficiency, security and more. Our options include tools for collection, distribution, security and management.

When did you start your banking career?
Tammy: I started at Merchants in February of 1999 as a Teller. Ten months later, I started working as a Customer Service Representative. Then, in 2011 I began working full time with our Cash Management Services. I actually just celebrated 17 years at Merchants Bank.

What do you like most about your job?
Tammy: I like the flexibility and the variety. Every business is different and has different needs. I get to meet and work with a lot of people in a lot of different types of businesses. Every day is different and every day is full of new opportunities.

What is your top cash management tip?
Tammy: Taking advantage of fraud management services, such as Positive Pay and ACH Filters. I cannot stress how important it is to protect what you have. In addition, staying educated on current scams and fraud detection options is key. I also highly recommend businesses monitor their account activity daily.

What do you hope your customers say about working with you?
Tammy: I would hope they would say that they enjoyed working with me and that I’m easy to work with. I would hope they feel they have learned a lot from me and benefited from my knowledge and advice.

Can you help businesses assess which Cash Management services make sense for them? How does this process work?
Tammy: Absolutely! If a business is considering moving to Merchants Bank, we offer to analyze their statements and ask them walk us through their typical daily banking practices. Then, we can offer suggestions and solutions to match their current practices or enhance them.

For our current customers, we keep an open line of communication. Business needs are always evolving and what worked 10 years ago, might not work as well today. We make sure we’re there to help them take the next step, so they have the tools necessary to be successful.

What does community banking mean to you?
Tammy: To me, it’s simple…… it’s about building relationships. It’s customers knowing their banker and bankers knowing their customers and having a banking partner that understands your business.

What are some of the biggest benefits to a business using Cash Management services?
Tammy: Simply put, Cash Management services can create efficiencies for a business. They can help streamline some day-to-day processes. At the end of the day, time is money and most times, money can be saved.

Fees may apply.

Prevent Fraudulent Charges to Your Business

Merchants Bank's Positive Pay

The 2015 True Cost of Fraud survey by Lexus Nexus estimates that every $100 of fraud actually costs businesses $223.* So how can you prevent fraud from costing your business its reputation and money? Use a service like Merchants Bank’s Positive Pay to detect fraud on a daily basis.

What is Positive Pay?
Positive Pay is a service that helps you detect fraudulent checks that are presented on your account. Only checks that match a pre-approved list, which you provide to the bank, are automatically paid. All other checks presented for payment must receive authorization or may be rejected by you.

How does it work?
Each day, you provide the bank with an electronic inventory of the checks you have issued. When the checks presented on your account each day are processed, Positive Pay matches your account number, check number and dollar amount of each check presented for payment against a list of checks previously authorized and issued by your business. All three components of the check must match exactly. When a check is reviewed that isn’t a match in the file, it becomes an “exception item”. The business reviews the image and can instruct the bank to pay or return the check.

Why should my business use it?
With Positive Pay, you can essentially eliminate the possibility of fraudulent checks being posted to your business account. Plus, in addition to the money you’ll save by preventing fraud, there is no need to purchase additional equipment to use Positive Pay.

How can I start using Positive Pay?
Contact one of our Cash Management specialists today.

*http://www.lexisnexis.com/risk/insights/true-cost-fraud-infographic.aspx

Jim Peterson Joins Merchants Bank as a Commercial and Ag Banker

Commercial Banker

Jim Peterson, Commercial and Ag Banker

Jim Peterson has joined Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls as Vice President and Commercial and Ag Banker, according to Brian Hokanson, Senior Vice President and Senior Lender for Merchants Bank.

“We believe Jim’s skills, especially in the area of ag lending, are a tremendous fit for our focus as a bank, but, more so, the right fit for our current and future customers,” Hokanson said.

Peterson has 16 years of commercial lending experience, working both in North Dakota and Minnesota. In addition to serving the needs in the Cannon Falls area, Peterson will also work with Ag customers in the Rochester area.

“The areas of focus that are important to me are also important to Merchants Bank,” Peterson said. “It has a great reputation for taking care of the immediate and long-term needs of its customers. I’m happy to be part of the team.”

Peterson is a native of North Dakota and graduate of North Dakota State University, with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He has a long history of community involvement and a love for the outdoors, including time serving on the Advisory Board for the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department. Jim and his wife, Tina, are looking forward to being active members of the Cannon Falls community.

Loans are subject to credit approval.

Should My Business Pay Employees Through Direct Deposit?

Merchants Bank, direct deposit

In 2014, 77% of business payment fraud occurred in the form of paper checks.* Did you know that you can help prevent fraud and provide a benefit to your employees by implementing one simple solution? The answer is direct deposit.

What is direct deposit? Direct deposit of payroll is the electronic transfer and deposit of employees’ net pay to their bank accounts anywhere in the U.S. through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. You, or your payroll processor, provide the Bank with your employees’ net pay information. Then we process your payroll file and deposit your employees’ paychecks into their bank account(s).

Many of our customers find it easier and quicker to generate ACH files using Merchants Online Banking. Your employees’ net pay is deposited automatically into their account(s) at the opening of bank business on pay day and is immediately available as cash. Your account is debited for the total net pay amount. It’s that easy.

Can direct deposit save my business time and money? Simply put, yes. Here’s how:

  • Spend less time on payroll by no longer needing to write/print, sign, fold and deliver checks
  • Stop re-issuing lost or stolen checks, which could also be a source for identity theft
  • Stop spending money on stop payment fees for lost or stolen checks
  • Stop spending money to print checks

According to Paychex, direct deposit can save a business anywhere from $2.87 to $3.15 per check.** Depending on the size of your business, this could amount to thousands of dollars each year.

How can direct deposit benefit my employees? While providing direct deposit is a benefit to your business, it is also a service many employees have come to expect. Employees appreciate the convenience that comes with direct deposit, including:

  • Immediate access to funds on payday without having to run to the bank to cash a check
  • Ability to direct funds into the account(s) of their preference by dollar amount or percentage
  • Protection from fraud by eliminating the possibility of a stolen or lost check with their personal information

To get started with direct deposit for your business, contact your local Merchants Bank.

Are you unsure about how to set up a payroll system for your business? Read this article from the SBA and then talk to one of our local Cash Management experts.

*http://www.afponline.org/pub/res/research/PaymentsFraud_InfoGraphic.html

**http://www.paychex.com/articles/payroll-taxes/benefits-of-direct-deposit-to-employees-and-employers

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Would You Increase Your Holiday Sales if You Could?

Business Gift Cards

For the past eight years, gift cards have been the number one most wanted holiday wish list item, according to the National Retail Foundation. In addition, 62% of shoppers say they would like to receive a gift card.* The popularity of gift cards has steadily increased since 2003 and spending on gift cards reached more than $31 billion in 2014.*

Still not sure if gift cards are right for your business? Here are some incredible statistics:

  • 83% Total spending on gift cards has increased by 83% since 2003.**
  • $23 – On average, consumers spend $23 more than the original value of the gift card at a store. **
  • 3x more – On average, consumers visit a store three or more times to spend the balance of a gift card.**

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Watch Now: Mike Swanson, Senior Consumer Banker and Branch Manager in Lakeville, explains how personalized business gift cards can benefit your business.

Offering gift cards is not only what your customers want, but it’s easy with Merchants Bank! Through our partnership with Valutec, you can begin offering personalized gift cards at your business in as little as 10 days. Simply speak to our Credit Card department by calling (507) 457-1160 or (800) 944-6285 to get started.

*https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/holiday-shoppers-spend-more-31-billion-gift-cards-this-year-according-nrf
** firstdata.com.

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