Our Community Banking Commitment

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A few weeks ago, Merchants Bank was recognized by the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce at its annual Business Celebration Luncheon as the Business of the Year for 2017. Eligibility for this distinction was based on a comprehensive assessment of outstanding achievement in all five of these categories:

  • Economic Development
  • Workforce Development
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Business Achievement
  • Community Engagement

While this specific recognition was isolated to Merchants’ contributions to the vitality of the Greater Winona area, the documented achievement for the categories identified above as part of the nomination process was based on the collective team effort that is contributed to by every one of my teammates in each of our markets throughout the entire region.

At Merchants, we do what we do not for the purpose of accolades and recognition, but simply to contribute to the economic well-being of our communities and the financial success of our clients. That said, we sincerely appreciate this recognition by the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce. Most gratifying was the fact that quantifiable achievements in each of the five categories of the nomination was representative of business as usual for the Merchants organization during the past year, not the result of nonrecurring incidents of extraordinary achievement.

In accepting the award at the recognition banquet in May, I articulated that at Merchants we have a fundamental philosophy as it relates to our commitment to community banking: Simply, we know that when our clients and communities thrive and prosper, we, too, will do well. That approach has served us well for more than 140 years, and it’s what drives the commitments we make to providing active community leadership.

It’s an appropriate time of the year to share with you the importance we place on active community involvement and engaged leadership in each of our markets. With the arrival of summer, it becomes festival season for this entire region. That means you won’t have to look real hard to see visible signs of the extraordinary involvement in community activities that all of us at Merchants take great pride in demonstrating.

Community leadership is a critical differentiating component of the Merchants Brand. The members of our employee team are truly humbled by the opportunity we have to serve the needs of our clients and communities. Again, when our clients and communities prosper, we know we, too, will do well. And in the case of the recent Chamber award, I would add that when one wins, we all win! Thank you for your continued trust and confidence. It’s your loyalty that allows us to continue to do great work in our communities!

Merchants Bank Gives Away $5,340 for Money Ball, Including $2,670 to the Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club

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Pictured with a check for $2,670 (l-r): Brian Wester of Merchants Bank, Zach Goring, Apple Valley High School Boys Varsity Head Coach, Debbie Jones, AVBBC President, and Marty Christiansen, AVBBC Treasurer.

Merchants Bank presented a check for $2,670 to the Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club, matching the amount Merchants gave away to Apple Valley school district students during 2016-2017 Money Ball promotion, according to Brian Wester of Merchants Bank, who coordinated the program.

“I would like to thank Merchants Bank for its generous donation to our basketball program. Our goal is to provide a positive basketball experience for our kids playing high school basketball. Through the donation made by Merchants Bank, we are able to give our kids the best opportunities to be successful. Thank you!” said Apple Valley High School Boys Varsity Head Coach Zach Goring.

Two students were randomly chosen to participate during halftime of each Apple Valley boys’ varsity basketball games. Students won a $10 gift card for a made lay-up and a $25 gift card for a made free throw. Students were awarded $100 for a made half-court shot, with the Money Ball rolling over if the half-court shot was not made.

Wester said seven students made half-court shots during the season, including two students who each made $700 for making shots on the last night.

Merchants Bank Twin Cities locations include Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. In total there Merchants Bank has 21 locations in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin, including Minnesota locations in 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. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

No customer relationship was necessary to enter or win. Merchants Bank employees and family members were not eligible to enter or win.

Meet the Winners of Merchants Bank’s Money Ball in Cannon Falls

Jenny Holz from Merchants Bank pictured with winners Avery Rustad (left) and Ashlyn Sjoquist (right).

During the Cannon Falls and Kasson-Mantorville Girl’s basketball game Friday, January 20, two students claimed prizes for making shots during Merchants Bank’s Money Ball, according to Jenny Holz, who is coordinating Money Ball for Merchants Bank.

Avery Rustad, a 4th grader, made a lay-up and free throw and earned $15. Ashlyn Sjoquist, an 8th grader, made a free throw and a 3-pointer to earn $35.

“It was a lot of fun, and we were happy that Avery and Ashlyn were such good shots,” Holz said. “I hope we have a student make the half-court shot next time.”

To be eligible, students sign up before halftime of the varsity game. Two contestants are then chosen randomly, one from 1st-5th grade and another from 6th-12th grade. Each contestant has a minute to make shots. The 1st-5th grader wins $5 for a made lay-up, $10 for made free throw, and then if both shots have been made, the student has one chance to win $25 for a made 3-pointer. If a 3-pointer isn’t made, the money rolls over to the next game. The 6th-12th grader wins $10 for a made free throw, $25 for a 3-pointer, and if both shots have been made, the student has one chance to win $100 for a half-court shot. If the half-courter isn’t made, the money rolls over to the next game.

The next chance for students to take part in Money Ball in Cannon Falls is the Boy’s game Feb. 3 against Kenyon-Wanamingo. There will also be a chance for students to take part in the Girl’s game Feb. 10 against Goodhue.

Help to Make the “10 Days of Giving” a Success

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From December 1-10, the “10 Days of Giving” food drive and other events will be held at a number of Merchants Bank locations, including Winona, St. Charles, Onalaska, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls and Red Wing.

The “10 Days of Giving” started in Winona and is now entering its 26th year. To date 2,377,227 pounds of food have been collected through monetary donations and the donations of non-perishable food items to help make sure no one in Winona County goes hungry. Last year, a record of more than 280,000 pounds of food was collected for Winona Volunteer Services, where the need is still great:

  • In 2013, 23,140 individuals were served at the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services, and another 2,461 individuals were served with emergency food.
  • An average of 906 households were served each month.
  • An average of 93 households used the Emergency Food Shelf services each month in 2013. 
  • An average of 37,255 pounds of food was given out through food shelf programs monthly.

Opportunities to Give

Winona – You can drop off money or food at Merchants Bank in Winona, Goodview or Lakeside between December 1-10. You can mail a donation to Merchants Bank, 102 East Third Street, Winona, MN 55987, attn: “10 Days of Giving.” You can make a donation online by going directly to the Winona Volunteer Services website. Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name. You can also bring donations to the Holiday Train held at 4 p.m., December 9, Amtrak Station.

St. Charles – St. Charles is holding its “10 Days of Giving” December 1-10 to benefit the Southeastern Minnesota Resource Center. Please bring cash or food donations to Merchants Bank in St. Charles.

Onalaska – Onalaska employees will again be hosting the La Crosse Rotary Lights Event December 2 at Riverside Park in La Crosse, WI. Please bring cash or food donations that night to the event. 

Cottage Grove – Cottage Grove will be holding its “10 Days of Giving” between December 1-10 to benefit the Friends in Need Food Shelf. You can bring cash donations or toiletry items to Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove. You can also bring donations to the Holiday Train held at 5:45 p.m., December 10, south of the Sieben Bridge, in front of the Youth Service Bureau.

Hastings – Hastings will be holding its “10 Days of Giving” between December 1-10 to benefit Hastings Family Service. Bring cash or food donations to Merchants Bank in Hastings. You can also donate at the Holiday Train stop at 8:30 p.m., December 9, at Canadian Pacific Depot, 500 E. Second Street.

Red Wing – Merchants Bank in Red Wing will be hosting a Change Collection, where they will collect the change you donate and then donate that money to benefit local people in need. It’s a great way to empty your pockets and change dishes to help others.

Cannon Falls – Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls will also be hosting a Change Collection during the holiday season at the Bank to benefit local people in need.

Spring Grove – Merchants Bank in Spring Grove will celebrate the “10 Days of Giving” by giving area residents an opportunity to purchase a bag of groceries supplied by Red’s IGA for people in need. Stop in the Bank for more details.

Thank You
We know this is a busy time of year and many organizations have a need. We hope that you will consider the “10 Days of Giving.” Thank you for your consideration.

Use Your Merchants Debit or Credit Card to Swipe Out Hunger

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By swiping your Merchants Bank debit or credit card you can help maximize the amount of money Merchants Bank gives this year to local food shelves.

What is Swipe Out Hunger?
Swipe Out Hunger is a Merchants Bank initiative to support local food shelves in our communities. Food shelves are nominated by our branches and receive a donation based on the number of votes cast through our Facebook page. The total possible donation will increase by 5 cents each time our customers swipe their Merchants Bank debit or credit cards between November 28 and December 10, to a maximum of $10,000.

This year Merchants goal is to:

  • Give $5,000 to the top vote getting food shelf.
  • Give a percentage of another $5,000 to all other nominated shelves based on their percentage of votes.

In order to achieve both goals, we need to reach 200,000 swipes (purchases made with a Merchants Bank debit or credit card) by our customers between November 28 and December 10.

How can you help?
Between November 28-December 10:

  • Use your debit or credit card to increase the total amount of money Merchants donates.
  • Like the Merchants Bank Facebook page and cast your vote for your favorite local food shelf. You may vote up to three times per day.

Which food shelves are participating?
This year’s nominated food shelves include:

Apple Valley and Rosemount – The Open Door
Caledonia and Spring Grove – SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf
Cannon Falls – Cannon Falls Food Shelf
Cottage Grove – Friends in Need Food Shelf
Hampton – Randolph Community Food Shelf
Hastings – Hastings Family Services
La Crescent – La Crescent Area Food Shelf
Lakeville – 360 Communities
Lanesboro – SEMCAC in Preston
Onalaska – The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse
Red Wing – Red Wing Area Food Shelf
Rushford – SEMCAC in Rushford
St. Charles – Southeast Minnesota Rural Education & Resource Center
Winona – Winona Volunteer Services