John Diersen Joins Board of Directors

DiersenJohnWell-known local Dairy Farmer John Diersen has been appointed to the Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove Advisory Board of Directors, according to Matt Schuldt, President for Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove.

“John is a valuable addition to the Board. He brings us a lot of knowledge about farming and the ag community, especially the dairy industry,” Schuldt said. “Plus, he’s about improving the community. He and his family give a lot back and are a big part of our area.”

Diersen is looking forward to giving his time and knowledge to the Board.

“I want to be able to contribute to the Board, not just be someone sitting in a chair,” Diersen said. “I’ll be able to provide input as far as farming, helping to pinpoint what to look for when it comes to the business of agriculture.”

Diersen, 62, farms with his wife, Karyl, and two sons, Joshua and Jayson, at Minnigan Hills Farm outside of Caledonia. The farm has been in the family since John’s grandfather. Currently, they farm 500 acres and milk between 135 and 150 Holsteins. Diersen is involved in the embryo business with three other local dairymen in Four Cal Genetics. The Diersens have also been involved in the American Dairy Association for many years and take a lead role in the Houston County Fair. John is a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church and has served on the board of directors at the church.

Matthew Schuldt Named President at Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove

SchuldtMatt

Matt Schuldt

CALEDONIA/SPRING GROVE, Minn. – Caledonia native Matthew Schuldt has been appointed Market President for Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove, according to Merchants Bank’s Southern Region President Jay Friedl.

Schuldt served as Interim President of First Community Bank in Lester Prairie, Minn., and also worked in other roles at the bank, including Vice President of Lending, working with consumer, agriculture and commercial lending customers.

“Matt’s experience will serve our Caledonia and Spring Grove customers very well as he helps them find the solution that is best for their individual needs,” Friedl said.

In addition to his experience at First Community Bank, Schuldt also spent eight years working with Eide Bailly, a public accounting and business advisory firm. He also volunteers as a youth wrestling coach.

“I’m excited to be a part of an organization so well thought of by community bankers throughout the state. Certainly, Merchants has the resources that make it possible to finance almost any sort of loan, but the strength of the organization is how it treats each customer like that person is the Bank’s only customer,” Schuldt said.

Schuldt started his new position in Caledonia and Spring Grove on February 24.

Project FINE Recognizes 2013 “Partner of the Year”

As seen in the Winona Post

On February 11, the Project FINE Board of Directors hosted its “Annual Report to the Community” at the Saint Mary’s University Toner Center. This event is a celebration of the organization’s activities and accomplishments during the previous year and a time to thank the many partners, stakeholders, staff and volunteers who help Project FINE make a positive impact in our community.

Each year, Project FINE recognizes an exceptional partner with the Partners Award.  For 2013, we are pleased to honor Merchants Bank with this award.

Pictured are Fatima Said, Project FINE Executive Director; Rod Nelson, Merchants Bank President and CEO; and Dr. Connie J. Gores, Project FINE 2013 Board President.

Pictured are Fatima Said, Project FINE Executive Director; Rod Nelson, Merchants Bank President and CEO; and Dr. Connie J. Gores, Project FINE 2013 Board President.

Merchants Bank
Merchants Bank has been an exceptional partner to Project FINE for many years.  In 2013, they completed an organizational diversity assessment and collaborated with Project FINE to provide diversity training for bank staff.  Merchants Bank also offered a series of banking education sessions for refugees and immigrants on home ownership and refinancing and they continue their commitment to serving diverse populations by providing interpreters for their non-English speaking bank clients.  As a result of this education and outreach, four newcomer families purchased a home through Merchants Bank in 2013 and countless others opened accounts.

Project FINE would like to thank the leadership and staff at Merchants Bank for their commitment to creating an inclusive environment and meeting the banking needs of newcomers in our community.  We are proud to partner with Merchants Bank and over 60 other community businesses, organizations and service providers to build a respectful and sensitive community.

“10 Days of Giving” Raises Food and Money in St. Charles

10DaysLogoST. CHARLES, Minn. – The Southeast Minnesota Rural Education and Resource Center received 3,300 pounds of food and $500 from the “10 Days of Giving,” December 1-10, at Merchants Bank in St. Charles.

Area businesses and individuals added to the total by bring food and money to Merchants in St. Charles. Also included in the total was $250 that the Southeast Minnesota Rural Education and Resource Center received from “Swipe Out Hunger,” a Facebook giveaway that Merchants ran to coincide with “10 Days of Giving.” “Swipe Out Hunger” benefited food shelves throughout the region.

“We are thankful for the generosity of our neighbors, and we are grateful that we have the opportunity to help the good people at the Southeast Minnesota Rural Education and Resource Center,” said Sandra Pasche of Merchants Bank.

Merchants Bank has been holding the “10 Days of Giving” for the past 25 years. This is the second year for the Facebook giveaway.

“10 Days of Giving” Record-Breaking Year Ends by Topping 280,000 Pounds

10DaysLogoWINONA, Minn. – Final tallies put the 25th Anniversary of the “10 Days of Giving” at 280,082 pounds of food.

The total breaks down to $127,626 in cash and 24,830 pounds of food. The previous record was set in 2009 when just over 250,000 pounds of food was collected. For the purposes of the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar.

“This year’s drive was successful because we came together as a community to help people, to make sure that no one in Winona County goes hungry,” said Mark Metzler, who is co-chair of the food drive. “Most of all, we are moved by the generosity of our neighbors who have made the effort to make a difference for someone else.”

This is the 25th anniversary of the “10 Days of Giving” and the 40th anniversary of Winona Volunteer Services, which benefits from the Winona contributions. The 25-year total for pounds of food collected now stands at 2,393,767.

“At Merchants Bank, we are thankful that we have the ability and employee dedication to help facilitate this drive. It really is a privilege,” Metzler said.

More than 30 area schools and child-care centers and more than 150 businesses participated in this year’s drive.

Area Food Shelves Receive Money from “Swipe Out Hunger”

SwipeOutHungerAppBannerMerchants Bank’s “Swipe Out Hunger” Facebook giveaway has concluded with more than 1,700 votes cast to benefit area food shelves.

Merchants Bank donated 5 cents each time a Merchants Bank credit card or debit card was used between November 29 and December 15, for a total of $10,000 to be split among the food shelves. Votes were placed on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page.

Merchants Bank representatives will be presenting food shelf representatives with checks within the coming week.

The Food Shelves were nominated by bank locations (bank locations making the nomination are noted in parentheses). There were a number of locations that nominated the same organization. The “Swipe Out Hunger” awards break down as follows:

  • 360 Communities (Lakeville): $270
  • Cannon Falls Food Shelf (Cannon Falls): $540
  • Channel One Rochester (Rochester): $569
  • Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center (Apple Valley and Rosemount): $352
  • Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove): $387
  • Hastings Family Services (Hastings): $751
  • La Crescent Food Share (La Crescent): $2,383
  • Randolph Food Shelf (Hampton): $264
  • Red Wing Area Food Shelf (Red Wing): $250
  • SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf (Caledonia and Spring Grove): $387
  • SEMCAC in Preston (Lanesboro): $250
  • SEMCAC in Rushford (Rushford): $370
  • Southeastern Minnesota Education & Resource Center (St. Charles): $250
  • The Hunger Task Force (Onalaska): $2,066
  • Winona Volunteer Services (Winona, Lakeside, Goodview): $1,238
 A minimum of $250 was given to nominated food shelves. Total amount given away was $10,327.

Fifth Annual “10 Days of Giving” in Cottage Grove

Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove Launches Fifth Annual “10 Days of Giving;” “Swipe Out Hunger” Will Also Benefit the Friends in Need Food Shelf

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. – Merchants Bank is launching its fifth annual “10 Days of Giving” event to help those in need. The event officially runs December 1-10, although it does extend through the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train and Sheryl Crow’s concert, scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, December 14.

“We hope that people will take a few minutes out of their busy lives to enjoy Sheryl Crow and the Holiday Train and help those people who are less fortunate,” said Randy Bachman of Merchants, who serves on the Holiday Train committee.

This year, in addition to the “10 Days of Giving,” Merchants Bank is helping nominated local food shelves through “Swipe Out Hunger,” where Merchants is donating a nickel to those nominated food shelves, up to a total of $10,000, every time a Merchants Bank debit card or credit card is used between November 29 and December 15. The Friends in Need Food Shelf was nominated by Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove to benefit from “Swipe Out Hunger.”

Supporters of the Friends in Need Food Shelf can vote once a day, Nov. 29-Dec. 15, at the Merchants Bank Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank. At the end of the giveaway, Hastings Family Service will receive a percentage of the total amount of money donated to “Swipe Out Hunger” based on the percentage of votes it receives on Facebook.

Cottage Grove has been a highly successful stop for the Holiday Train with the Friends in Need Food Shelf benefitting from generous contributions of non-perishable food items, toiletries and money. Attendees are encouraged to bring toiletries and cash donations this year as well.

Area residents are encouraged to bring cash donations and non-perishable food items to the Holiday Train and to Merchants Bank, 7200 East Point Douglas Road S, as well as participating businesses and South Washington County schools.