Gina Miller Joins Merchants Bank as Vice President and Commercial Banker

MillerGina

Gina Miller, Commercial Banker

Gina Miller has joined Merchants Bank as a Vice President and Commercial Banker, according to Shawn Sackman, Senior Lending Officer and Senior Vice President for Merchants Bank’s Southeast Region.

“We are excited to have Gina join our team,” Sackman said. “With her experience, ability and connections, as well as our increased presence in the La Crosse area, we know she will contribute to our continued growth.”

Miller had been with the Wells Fargo organization for the past 17 years, most recently as a Business Relationship Manager/Commercial Banker.

“Merchants is a great match for me because it is a community bank that is built on and values the relationships with its customers,” Miller said. “Building and maintaining those relationships has been my goal throughout my career, and I look forward to continuing that career with Merchants as it gains more market share in our area.”

Miller is a graduate of Viterbo University. She is active in the community. She is a member of the Coulee Region Young Professionals, a member of the Women’s Alliance of La Crosse, and a participant in the Chamber of Commerce’s La Crosse Area Community Leadership Program.

Onalaska is one of the fastest growing of all 21 Merchants’ locations. In 2016, Merchants reported record income of $14,154,891. The Onalaska location was one of the leaders in productivity, with nearly $2.2 million in net income.

In addition to Onalaska, Merchants has Minnesota locations in La Crescent, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Merchants has an additional Wisconsin location in Eau Claire. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Loans are subject to approval. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

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

BrownJerad

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.”

Meet John Piscitiello, Commercial Banker

Piscitiello, Johncrop

John Piscitiello, Commercial Banker

Get to know John’s commercial banking philosophy and how he helps businesses in the Twin Cities.

Share a little about your background and banking career.

John: I grew up in Winona and went to St. Mary’s University. After graduation, I moved to the Twin Cities, where I currently live with my wife and four boys in Lakeville.

I have been in the lending business my whole career. During the real estate boom years of the 2000s, I was a business owner in the construction lending industry. It was a challenging environment leading up to the economic meltdown. I was fortunate to exit the business before the Great Recession hit, and I learned many great lessons about both the successes and failures of running a business.

What do you like most about your job?

John: When I am able to make a difference helping a client succeed and reach their goals.

What kinds of businesses do you typically work with and how do you help them?

John: My clients are typically family-owned companies located in the Twin Cities market. I help them by providing financing and other banking services where needed, along with ideas and guidance when appropriate.

What is something not many businesses know about work with Merchants Bank?

John: That Merchants is an employee-owned ESOP bank! Being employee-owned has a positive effect on our company culture, and is a nice contrast to the big banks.

How would you describe your partnership with your business customers?

John: It is very much a business partnership. For me to be a good banker for my clients, I need to have a deep understanding of their business and business goals. This helps me to not only provide the services and advice needed, but also allows me to be an advocate for my clients internally within the bank.

What do you hope your customers say about working with you?

John: I hope my customers say that I understand them and that they have a banker they can trust to take care of their needs.

What does community banking mean to you?

John: To me, community banking means strong relationships with our clients and with the local markets we serve. Community banking also means local decision-making, which for many business owners can be the difference between feeling understood and getting the service they need versus feeling like your bank doesn’t get you.

Loans are subject to approval.

Meet Mike Swanson, Commercial Banker

SwansonMike

Mike Swanson, Commercial Banker in Hastings

Get to know Mike, Commercial Banker,  and how he helps businesses – big and small – meet their financial goals.

Share a little about your background and banking career.
Mike: I started in banking as a part time teller in high school at Vermillion State Bank. Two years later, I moved to First Federal Bank (now known as MidCountry Bank) as a Construction Loan Assistant. After college, I moved back to the retail side of the bank as a Personal Banker and eventually became a branch manager there.

In 2012, I started at Merchants Bank as Personal Banker. Since then, I’ve changed office locations and roles a couple of times and eventually was fortunate enough to move to the commercial side of banking, in my current role as a Commercial Banker. It had been a goal of mine to move into a commercial role for many years and I feel very fortunate Merchants has afforded me that opportunity and in my hometown no less!

What do you like most about your job?
Mike: When people hear you are a banker they tend to draw conclusions about number crunching and spreadsheets, but I’m a community banker because I like people! I love building relationships and getting to know my clients, their goals, dreams, and aspirations, and most importantly helping them achieve them.

I also greatly enjoy my community and Merchants Bank’s commitment to the communities we serve allows me to be involved in several organizations. Part of my job is to help make Hastings a great community for all of us who live and work here.

What kinds of businesses do you typically work with and how do you help them?
Mike: That’s one of the great things about Merchants – whether you are a one-man show landscaper or plumber, or have employees in multiple locations – we are going to have products and services to offer you. I’ve work with several one-man operations in landscaping, agriculture, all the trades (plumbing, electrical, etc), as well as real estate investors, accountants, and doctors.

We can help with equipment purchasing and leasing, working line of credits, credit card, and an entire suite of cash management services too. We have something for every kind of business.

What do you hope your customers say about working with you?
Mike: I hope they say “that was such a great experience I’m going to tell everyone I know about Mike at Merchants!” Really, I hope they know I am working for them and that I’m here to offer them options in order to meet their future goals. I hope they say I am a long-term trusted partner to help them reach their goals.

What does community banking mean to you?
Mike: Community banking means that we, the Bank, take care of our community. Decisions are made by people who understand the local needs of families, businesses and farmers.

In today’s world, you can’t walk into just any bank and ask to talk to the president. But at Merchants you can because of our local, market-based leadership. Being a community bank means we partner with you through opening your child’s savings account, financing your first home, or helping you get the business of your dreams started. It means when you walk in the door, we’re going to know your name and you will know ours.

Loans are subject to approval.

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.

In Honor of Harvest

eNews-Harvest

Have you ever stopped to think about how farmers impact your day to day life? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food is more affordable in the United States than in any other developed country in the world thanks to our farmers. Plus, the U.S. farmer is the most productive in the history of the world (1).

Matt Schuldt, Market President

Matt Schuldt, Market President

At Merchants Bank, our Ag lenders support and partner with farmers every day to help create prosperous farming operations. “I like working with farmers because, for one thing, I grew up on a farm. My dad had 50 head of black Angus cattle. Farming is not a simple business, and each and every day I continue to learn from our local farmers,” said Matt Schuldt, Market President for Caledonia and Spring Grove.

In honor of harvest this fall, we’ve collected some amazing facts about the farm industry and farmers in the United States. Did you know?

  • There are 2.1 million farms in existence in the United States (2). Less than 1% of those farms are certified and exempt organic farms (3).
  • The average farm size is 434 acres (4).
  • Only 45% of farmers claim farming as their primary occupation (5).
  • 30% of farms are operated by at least one woman (2).
  • Farmers work an average of 9.91 hours per day on weekdays and 10.24 hours per day on weekends and holidays (6).
  • Minnesota farms rank first in production of green peas, red kidney beans, sugar beets, sweet corn and turkeys, (7) while Wisconsin farms rank first in production of cheese, milk goats, mink pellets, corn, cranberries and snap peas (8).
  • In 2015, the U.S. pork and poultry industries will produce a record 95 million pounds of meat (9).
Brian Hokanson, Ag Lender

Brian Hokanson, Ag Lender

We wish all of our ag customers a successful harvest. According to Brian Hokanson, Ag Lender in Cannon Falls and Red Wing, the harvest outlook is positive so far, “In this region, the start of harvest has been excellent. Yields are coming in better than expected and while prices on commodities, specifically corn and soybean are down, yields are giving everyone a little bit of hope for fall.”

For more information on financing, equipment loans and leases and other opportunities for your farm or business, contact an Ag Loan Officer at your local Merchants Bank.

Loans are subject to credit approval.

1 *www.epa.gov/agriculture/ag101/printeconomics.html
2 *www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Highlights/Farm_Demographics/
3 *www.agcensus.usda.gov/Newsroom/2015/09_17_2015.php
4 *www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Preliminary_Report/Highlights.pdf
5 *www.epa.gov/agriculture/ag101/demographics.html
6 *www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf
7 *www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Minnesota/Publications/Rankings/2015%20MN%20Rankings.pdf
8 *www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Wisconsin/Publications/Annual_Statistical_Bulletin/bulletin2014_web.pdf
9 *www.agweb.com/article/7-statistics-farmers-need-to-know-for-2015-NAA-alison-rice/

ContactUsButton

Missed the Southeast Minnesota Economic Forum?

Blog-Forum

More than 400 local business leaders gathered on Tuesday, September 29 to engage in a conversation about the future economic outlook for the city of Rochester. As a banking leader in the region with two locations in Rochester and a company with a vested interested in the economic growth of Southeast Minnesota, Merchants Bank was proud to be the pinnacle sponsor of this event.

The Southeast Minnesota Economic Forum featured two keynote speakers, Tim Penny and Steve Loehr, and two panels – including a panel featuring our Chief Financial Officer, Sue Savat – covering topics from business growth opportunities, ag industry insights, workforce challenges, government decisions and regulations, the impact of the Destination Medical Center plan and more.

For specific coverage and takeaways from the Forum, visit the KTTC website.

ContactUsButton