Andrew Guzzo Promoted to Chief Banking Officer at Merchants Bank

Andrew Guzzo, Chief Banking Officer & President (Winona)

Andrew Guzzo has been promoted to Chief Banking Officer & President (Winona), according to Greg Evans, President & CEO.

Guzzo will continue to have primary leadership responsibility for Merchants Bank’s Winona and Goodview locations, along with meaningful community engagement for the Winona area. Additionally, Guzzo will now also oversee the strategic direction of the Wealth Management division, Marketing and other key centralized business units.

“Andrew has provided outstanding leadership for our Winona and Southeast Region market locations over the last five years and constantly models the servant leadership approach that is at the core of our culture,” said Evans. “His promotion will help ensure that Merchants’ strong leadership culture continues into the future as we work to continue to be the community bank of choice for individuals, families and businesses across our footprint.”

Guzzo joined Merchants Bank as Winona & Southeast Regional President in 2017. Prior to Merchants he spent more than a decade in the banking industry, working for American Bank & Trust in the Quad Cities (Iowa/Illinois) area and leading NXT Bank in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He also has more than 15 years of sales and sales management experience with US Foods.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue serving our loyal clients, the Winona community and providing leadership to our talented group of associates who are devoted to helping our clients fulfill their hopes and dreams,” Guzzo said.

As part of his community engagement efforts, Guzzo serves on the Community Leadership Advisory Board for Winona State University College of Business and the President’s Advisory Committee for Minnesota State College Southeast. He also serves on Board of Directors for the Winona Family YMCA, Winona Community Foundation and Family & Children’s Center and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Transportation Policy Committee.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.7 billion in assets and is the 4th largest bank chartered in the state of Minnesota. Merchants was founded in 1875.

Tom Pasch Named Market President for Merchants Bank in Red Wing

Tom Pasch, President, Red Wing

Tom Pasch has been named Market President for Merchants Bank in Red Wing, according to Dan Massett, North Region President.

“Tom is a great addition to our already amazing team in Red Wing,” said Massett. “His background, integrity, emphasis on relationship-based banking and leadership skills truly align with our culture and the strategic focus here at Merchants.”

Pasch has nearly 15 years of banking experience, serving mainly in leadership and commercial banking roles. He is also an experienced Small Business Administration (SBA) lender. Pasch was most recently a Market President for Bank First in Watertown, WI and also previously worked at Ixonia Bank and Wells Fargo. In addition to his banking career, he served in the Army for six years.

“What I value most in my role is the ability to connect and build genuine relationships with people in the community, business owners and the team I work alongside. Merchants understands the importance of personal relationships and the difference that makes in truly being able to serve customers with their best interests at heart; it’s their approach to community banking that really appealed to me,” said Pasch. 

Pasch is a native Minnesotan and graduated from Brown College. He, his wife, Julie, and their four daughters are relocating to the Red Wing area and look forward to getting involved in the community. In the past, Pasch has been involved in local city government, civic groups and other organizations to help better the communities that he has lived in. His hobbies include tennis, golf and alpine skiing and he is an avid hunter and outdoorsman.

Since 2007, Merchants Bank has been a community partner in Red Wing, when the Bank acquired 1st National Bank of Cannon Falls and Red Wing. As a regional banking leader, the Bank offers a full array of traditional banking and mortgage solutions, wealth management services and can assist businesses of any size with their business financing and treasury management needs.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.7 billion in assets and is the 4th largest bank chartered in the state of Minnesota. Merchants was founded in 1875. Member FDIC.

Ellen Morehouse Promoted to Vice President/Credit Administration Manager

Ellen Morehouse, Vice President/Credit Administration Manager

Ellen Morehouse has been promoted to Vice President/Credit Administration Manager at Merchants Bank, according to Cindy Harrison, Senior Vice President and Director of Credit Administration.

“With a decade of experience in credit support, Ellen has been a true leader for our behind-the-scenes team as we help individuals, families and businesses through the loan process,” said Harrison. “She has demonstrated exemplary leadership skills and innovation as we continue to improve our processes for the best possible customer experience.”

Morehouse joined Merchants Bank in 2011 as a Credit Analyst. She was promoted to Credit Support Manager in 2019, overseeing the Credit Support area and ensuring that the backroom processes for the credit administration of consumer and business loans are completed accurately and efficiently. This promotion brings two additional departments, Document Preparation and Credit Analysts, under Morehouse’s supervision.

“I am excited to continue supporting our consumer and business lending teams here at Merchants,” Morehouse said. “We have a great team that works hard every day to help our customers fulfill their hopes and dreams.”

Morehouse graduated from the Merchants Bank “I Believe Leadership Series” in 2020. The “I Believe Leadership Series” is a home-grown leadership development training program for Merchants Bank employees to strengthen and grow their leadership skills.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank has more than $2.7 billion in assets and was founded in 1875.

Greg Evans Appointed to American Bankers Association Government Relations Council

Greg Evans, President & CEO

Greg Evans, President & CEO for Merchants Bank and Merchants Financial Group, Inc. has been appointed to serve as Minnesota’s representative on the American Bankers Association’s (ABA) Government Relations Council. 

Council members are appointed by ABA’s chair with typically one representative from each state. Each serves a one-year term with the possibility of appointment to one additional term.

The Government Relations Council (GRC) is the leadership committee with the exclusive responsibility for recommending annual policy priorities to ABA’s Board of Directors. The Council provides ongoing policy guidance to ABA leadership as policy issues arise during the year. Its diverse membership is reflective of the industry at large, representing banks from across the country of varying asset size, charter type, and business structure, making it a critical committee in representing both the specific interests of the industry segments and the broader industry. GRC members also participate in ABA’s political engagement programs.

Most importantly, Evans and other members of the GRC serve as essential advocates of ABA’s policy positions before members of the legislative and executive branches and related agencies, local media and fellow bankers.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve on this important council,” said Evans. “I look forward to participating and helping further the critical role our nation’s banks, especially community banks, play in both their communities and the broader economy.”

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank has more than $2.7 billion in assets and was founded in 1875.

Jordan Frederick Promoted to Assistant Vice President/Commercial & Ag Banker at Merchants Bank

Jordan Frederick, Assistant Vice President/ Commercial & Ag Banker

Jordan Frederick has been promoted to Assistant Vice President/Commercial & Ag Banker at Merchants Bank, according to Steve Christopherson, Senior Vice President & Commercial Banking Manager.

“Jordan puts our customers’ needs first and his hard work deserved to be recognized,” said Christopherson. “He continues to take advantage of every opportunity to learn about our business customers and their industries so he can be the best possible community banker.”

Frederick has been with Merchants as a Commercial & Ag Banker since 2019. He is an expert in Farm Service Agency (FSA) lending and understands farming from first-hand experience as a dairy farmer.

“Our business customers are passionate about what they do and it’s extremely rewarding to help them as a financial partner. I feel fortunate to be able to play a role in their growth and work together toward their future goals,” said Frederick.

The Merchants Bank Commercial Lending team is comprised of more than 40 local experts, available throughout our regional footprint. In addition to traditional commercial loans, Merchants bankers specialize in ag banking, SBA loans, floor plan financing and equipment financing. As a regional banking leader, Merchants can assist businesses of any size with their business financing needs, including Treasury Management and deposit services.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.7 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to approval.

Chris Thrune Promoted to Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank

Chris Thrune, Mortgage Lender

Chris Thrune has been promoted to Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank, according to Sue Hovell, Director of Retail Banking Performance. Chris replaces Rhonda Merchlewitz, who retired in November after 23 years serving mortgage customers in St. Charles and Winona.

“It’s a huge benefit to have someone with Chris’s background as your Mortgage Lender,” said Hovell. “He knows all the complex details of the mortgage process and can really break it down for our customers to make things easy to understand.”

Thrune has been with Merchants Bank since 2013 and has spent the majority of his career in the mortgage area. In 2015 he became a Mortgage Lender for Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove before returning to Winona in 2018 as an Underwriter. He grew up in Winona and graduated from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting & Finance.

“Being a Mortgage Lender in Winona is what I’ve always dreamed of doing,” said Thrune. “Working face-to-face with customers is what I truly enjoy and helping them get into their dream home is so rewarding.”

He and his wife, Larissa, live in the Winona area and are happy to have put down roots in their hometown. Chris volunteers annually for Merchants’ 10 Days of Giving food drive and is part of the Southeast Minnesota Realtors (SEMR) Events Committee. He is also looking forward to becoming more active in the community volunteer efforts. His hobbies include being outdoors, hiking and golfing.

The Merchants Bank Mortgage team is comprised of nearly 20 local mortgage lenders, available throughout our regional footprint, backed by our in-house mortgage processing, underwriting and loan servicing teams. In addition to traditional mortgage loans, Merchants mortgage lenders can assist with mortgage pre-approval, construction loans, and specialized mortgage programs such as VA, FHA, Rural Development and more available through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’re committed to being there for our customers after loan closing and service nearly $2.6 billion in mortgage loans annually.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.7 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to approval.

Tirzah Warren Promoted to Assistant Vice President/Teller Administrator

Tirzah Warren, Assistant Vice President/Teller Administrator

Tirzah Warren has been promoted to Assistant Vice President/Teller Administrator at Merchants Bank, according to Sue Hovell, Director of Retail Banking Performance.

“Over her 20-year career, Tirzah has consistently demonstrated her commitment to serving our customers and her leadership ensures they are taken care of professionally and compassionately by our teller team,” said Hovell.

Warren has been with the Merchants Bank since 1999, when she started as a Teller at the Winona-Goodview location. In 2001, she was promoted to Lead Teller in Goodview and served in that position for 10 years. Then in 2011, she moved to the Winona-Lakeside location and was Lead Teller there for three years. She was promoted to Teller Administrator in 2016 and oversees all tellers at the Winona locations in Goodview, Lakeside, Downtown and Downtown Drive-Up.

“I have had the joy of serving some of our customers for the entire time I’ve been with Merchants – 21 years – and it’s been an honor to get to know them and watch our families grow together,” said Warren. “Tellers are one of the Bank’s greatest assets for serving our customers and I feel it’s my privilege to help develop, and hopefully inspire, every teller on our team.”

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.5 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to credit approval. Member FDIC.

Meet Sarah Danielson, Commercial Banker in La Crescent, Minnesota

Sarah Danielson, Commercial Banker

Get to know more about Sarah Danielson and how she approaches working with businesses every day.

When did you start your banking career?
Sarah: I started working as a Teller in 1994. At the time, I worked mostly with commercial customers and really enjoyed learning about that side of banking. When I had the chance to apply for a job in the Loan Review area, I took it. In Loan Review, I spent my time analyzing business financials and while I really enjoyed it, I missed being in front of people. Ultimately, I knew the best path would be to become a Commercial Banker so I could use all of my knowledge and interact with customers again.

What do you like most about your job?
Sarah: I enjoy being there for my customers through the ups and downs of their businesses. Owning a business isn’t always easy – I know first hand – and I can relate to what it’s like for my business customers day in and day out. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. It’s so encouraging to see people believe in themselves and have the courage to take the next step in establishing or running their business.

Share your top business/commercial banking tip.
Sarah: The secret to success is having a full understanding of what you’re doing. You might wonder how that’s possible. Start by surrounding yourself with a team of trusted experts, like a lawyer, accountant and a banker, just to name a few.

What do you hope your customers say about working with you?
Sarah: I hope they see me as a trusted partner…someone who has knowledge to share, but also looks out for their best interests.

Can you help businesses assess which business banking options would be most beneficial? How does this process work?
Sarah: Definitely. It’s as simple as sitting down and taking the time to listen to a customer. I try to uncover their true needs and pair that with my knowledge from being in such a wide variety of banking positions to make the best recommendation(s).

What does community banking mean to you?
Sarah: It’s gratifying to be part of a banking team where employees are so dedicated to improving the community professionally, through their work helping businesses grow, and personally, through volunteer and service work. I believe in community and community banking.

What are some of the biggest benefits to a business to working with a Merchants Bank Commercial Banker?
Sarah: I think we’re different because our team is interested helping businesses with their entire banking experience, from loans to deposits and treasury management tools. I’m not just your lender. I want to be your banker and someone who provides the best guidance about your financial picture.

Amanda King Promoted to Assistant Controller at Merchants Bank

Amanda King, Assistant Controller

Amanda King has been promoted to Assistant Controller at Merchants Bank, according to Sue Savat, Chief Financial Officer.

“Amanda is a cornerstone of the Finance team and continues to grow in her role as our company grows. This promotion is a reflection of her expertise and dedication to serving our staff just as we would a Merchants Bank customer,” said Savat.

King has been with Merchants Bank for more than two decades, beginning her career as a Teller in 1998. She joined the Finance Department in 2002 as a Reports Specialist and over the last 18 years she has been promoted to Accounting Specialist and most recently Senior Accounting Specialist.

“I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to grow in my career over last 20 years at Merchants. We have a wonderful team and I enjoy supporting them, so they can support our customers,” King.

Amanda lives in Caledonia on a farm with her husband, Luke, and their four daughters, Jovial, Regan, Kensey and Bayla.

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 $2.5 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875.

Rachel Larson Promoted to Manager of Collections at Merchants Bank

Rachel Larson. Manager of Collections

Rachel Larson has been promoted to Manager of Collections at Merchants Bank, according to Mark McGrory, Chief Credit Officer.

“Rachel is the perfect fit to lead our Collections team. Not only does she understand the risk management side of our business, but as a 20-year veteran on the Merchants Bank team she knows our culture and understands that taking care of our customers is what makes Merchants Bank a great community bank,” said McGrory.

Larson has been with Merchants Bank since 1999 and as an integral part of the Bank’s Audit/Compliance team for the past 16 years, most recently as a Risk Management Officer. Larson also graduated from Merchants’ home-grown leadership program, the I Believe Leadership Series, in 2019.

In her new role as Manager of Collections, she will work with individual loan customers who are experiencing financial hardship and help them with an appropriate workout plan. As an area that affects the overall credit quality of the Bank, Larson and the Collections team will help maintain the asset quality of the Bank by finding workable solution for these customers.

“This new role provides me with the opportunity to interact with customers in a much more personal way and provide the caring service approach that’s in alignment with the Merchants culture. I’m looking forward to assisting customers as possible with solutions for their individual needs,” Larson.

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 $2.5 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875.