Dawn Farrell: Celebrating 30+ Years of Service

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FarrellDawnDawn Farrell started working at La Crescent State Bank in 1981. When it was acquired by Merchants Bank in 1990, she stayed to continue serving the La Crescent community. Merchants thanks Dawn for her commitment to excellence over the years. In June, she will begin a new adventure: Retirement.

How did you get started in banking?

Dawn: I’ve lived in La Crescent my entire life, and it was important to me that I stay in La Crescent to work. I applied for a Teller position at La Crescent State Bank in 1979 and actually didn’t get that job. Three years later, the position opened again and the Teller supervisor called to see if I was still interested. Naturally, I was. Eventually I moved to the proof machine to track all of the Bank’s daily transactions, which I discovered I didn’t care for. I much prefer working with people. Then I started in customer service and I knew that was where I was meant to be. When Merchants Bank acquired La Crescent State Bank in 1990 I was very happy to continue in my role.

What has changed in banking since you started your career? What hasn’t?

Dawn: Technology and regulations have changed the most. In the early days, when someone would come in to open an account we wouldn’t even ask for an ID, we’d just take down the information they gave us. Now of course we are more diligent and detail-oriented regarding our customers’ identity.

The only thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to service. We have always cared about our customers and our community. I enjoy getting to know them and hearing their stories. I will greatly miss making those connections.

What is your favorite part about working with your customers and colleagues in the La Crescent community?

Dawn: My favorite part of my job is definitely working with customers and hearing the many stories they have to tell. It’s wonderful to find a strong bond with someone, and I’ve been fortunate to have that with a lot of my customers. I’ve also learned that everyone has their own way they manage their finances that works for them. I’ve enjoyed being able to provide additional insight for them over the years and provide education on tools we have available that may help, but they’ve taught me a lot too.

What will you miss most?

Dawn: I will miss the routine of the work day and the daily contact with people in our wonderful La Crescent community. I will not, however, miss waking up to an alarm clock!

What are some of your favorite memories?

Dawn: I have the fondest memories of the gatherings we organized. The Bank used to put on a senior breakfast with a different theme each year, and now we have great success with the Food Explosion campaign during Applefest. I remember we started that in 2010. I also adore my memories of the social events some of the bank employees would plan for ourselves, including canoe trips, bowling, golfing, hay rides and Christmas parties. We fondly refer to ourselves as “The Old Bank Ladies.” We still get together every Christmas season for a cookie exchange. Of course there are also a few customers that I will never forget.

How will you stay busy?

Dawn: I am looking forward to starting my retirement in the summer. We have 260 acres out in the country, and my husband has big plans for me to clean up our flower and vegetable gardens. We also have two children and five grandchildren. One of the grandsons wants me to play golf with him, so he’ll have to teach me to play golf. In the winter my three grandsons have hockey. My sisters and brother are retired as well and I’m sure I’ll be doing fun things with them. My husband and I will also be taking off to go on trips and doing whatever we want. I guess I’ll be staying busy!

Anything you’d like to add?

Dawn: I will miss my co-workers in La Crescent as well as the wonderful people I have connected with across the other 20 Merchants Bank locations. I’ll have to visit on occasion to say hi and keep up with what is going on in the area. I’d also like to thank the La Crescent community and our customers for their friendship over the years. You’ve all been part of a wonderful career!

Lisa Franxman Named Market President for Merchants Bank in Rosemount

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Respected, relationship-focused area banker Lisa Franxman has joined the team at Merchants Bank as Market President in Rosemount, according to Twin Cities’ Regional President Lawrence Stovern.

“Lisa is well known in the Rosemount and Farmington area as an exceptional banker and someone who is committed to making the area a better place to live,” Stovern said. “We are excited to have her as part of the leadership team here in the Twin Cities as we continue to grow.”

Before joining the team at Merchants, Franxman had been with Anchor Bank since 2000. She was named President of the Farmington location in 2011. In addition to her leadership skills, Franxman is an accomplished commercial and SBA lender, with a background in credit analysis. She is focused on enhancing and building long-term business relationships. In 2015, she received the Exceptional Business Woman award from the Dakota County Tribune.

“As a community banker, Merchants shares my values for making the communities we serve better places to live, work and grow,” Franxman said. “I’m looking forward to sharing my expertise, connections and knowledge in helping the Rosemount bank meet the needs of the area.”

Franxman has a long history of community involvement. She serves on the Executive Board of Hope for Tomorrow, currently leading the Farmington chapter. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce, where she chaired the Women’s Conference committee in 2015 and 2016. She is a member of the Dakota County Sheriff’s Citizen Advisory Council. She served on the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Farmington and was President of the Club in 2015-2016.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Rosemount, Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings and Lakeville. Other Minnesota locations include 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. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Shannon Spahr Promoted to Vice President/Controller

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Shannon Spahr has been promoted to Vice President/Controller at Merchants Bank, according to Sue Savat, Chief Financial Officer.

“Shannon is an extremely hard worker and strives to meet the needs of all our market locations,” Savat said. “Her dedication and knowledge deserve to be recognized.”

Spahr has been with Merchants since 2010. She has held positions in the deposit and mortgage operations departments. She continued to grow her education: she graduated from Winona State University in 2011, from Stetson University in 2012 with a Master of Accountancy and became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in 2015. She has been Controller at Merchants Bank since 2015.

“It is an honor to be recognized for my work,” said Spahr, “and most important to note is the hard work of our incredible team that is committed to providing outstanding service to our customers. It is the employees themselves that are the company’s finest feature, and I am fortunate to be part of this fine team.”

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Minnesota locations in Winona, Goodview, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Rushford, Lanesboro, Red Wing, Cannon Falls, Hampton as well as Twin Cities locations in Lakeville, Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings and Rosemount. Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. Merchants Bank was founded in 1875. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Loans are subject to approval. Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, the company’s leasing arm, is based in the Twin Cities.

Congratulate New and Promoted Staff

New Staff

BromCourtney Courtney Brom, Teller, Winona

Courtney is originally from Winona and is studying math teaching at Winona State University. She has a second job at Prairie Ranch Kennels and previously worked at Menards as a Head Cashier. In her spare time she likes to hang out with friends and family, read, be outdoors, and in the summers she likes to watch her brother race.

Terri Derouin Terri Derouin, Teller, Rochester – Green Meadows

Terri has held several positions with the Rochester Public Schools and currently works at Century High School as a Budget Secretary. Terri is an avid sports fan, loves movies, music, the outdoors (especially the mountains) and summer road trips.

Amy Gross Amy Gross, Teller, Caledonia

Amy is currently a part-time Health Coach and previously worked at Gundersen Care Center as an Activities Aide.

Chris Kreisel Chris Kreisel, Trust Associate/Benefit Plan Specialist, Winona-Downtown

Chris’s experience includes more than seven years working as a Retirement Educator; he helped 401(k) participants and plan sponsors across the country. He has industry certification as a Certified Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC) and a Certified Retirement Services Professional (CRSP).

Jessica Norgard Jessica Norgard, Teller, Rushford

Jessica previously worked at S&A Petroleum and JT’s Bar & Grill. She enjoys playing with her son, spending time outside, and cooking.  

Daniel Pohnl Daniel Pohnl, Commercial Banker, Eau Claire

Daniel has been in banking since 2011, working in mortgage loans, as a credit analyst and most recently as a commercial banker, all in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro market. He is an experienced SBA (Small Business Administration) Lender.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he had a double major in Accounting and Finance. He is originally from Rhinelander. Read more about Daniel joining Merchants here.

Arlene Schwerzler Arlene Schwerzler, Mortgage Lender, Red Wing

Arlene is a familiar name and face to the Merchants Bank employees and many customers in Red Wing. As a long-time mortgage lender at Merchants Bank in Winona, she served many customers in Red Wing. Arlene has been in banking for more than 30 years. She started as a Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank in Winona in 1998 and also spent a short amount of time at Merchants Bank in Rochester. Read more about Arlene’s return to Merchants here.

Lynda Sobotta Lynda Sobotta, Mortgage File Representative, Winona

Lynda is originally from Winona, and has returned with her husband after living in Austin for a while. She spends Friday nights with her granddaughter and has two dogs that keep her company. Lynda previously worked at Winona Health and Riverside Electronics.

Mike Stangl Mike Stangl, Commercial Banker and Mortgage Lender, La Crescent

Mike has been working in the La Crosse market as a mortgage lender since 2012. From 2001 to 2012 he was in the Marshfield, WI, market working in banking in a number of roles, including mortgage, consumer, and commercial lending. Mike is involved in the community, donating his time to a number of organizations, including the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, Coulee Region Humane Society, and the Hunger Task Force. Read more about Mike joining Merchants here.

Erik Stegemann

Erik Stegemann, Credit Analyst, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance

Erik previously worked as a Ag/Commercial Loan Officer at Citizens Bank in Iowa. Erik is a sport enthusiast and avid Gopher fan. He also enjoys anything about the outdoors such as skiing, boating, volleyball and basketball.

Transfers and Promotions

Carol Bell Carol Bell, Credit Card Specialist, Winona-Downtown

Carol has transferred to the Credit Card department as a Credit Card Specialist. She has been with Merchants since 2002 and was previously a Mortgage Underwriter in Winona.

Mollie Brink, Lending Assistant Team Lead, Winona

Mollie has taken on additional responsibilities moving to Lending Assistant Team Lead. She started with Merchants Bank as a Lending Assistant in 2014 and has shown the leadership and initiative to succeed.  Prior to joining Merchants she  worked at Winona National Bank for 5 years as a Teller and Teller Supervisor. She has a degree from Winona State University in Human Resources.

Marcus Krings Marcus Krings, Credit Card Manager, Winona-Downtown

Marcus has been promoted to Credit Card manager. He has been with Merchants since 2012. He was previously an Electronic Banking Specialist and most recently the Credit  Card Specialist in Winona. Meet Marcus here.

Controller Greg Rasmussen Promoted to Officer at Merchants Bank Equipment Finance

Greg Rasmussen, Controller at Merchants Bank Equipment Finance

Greg Rasmussen, Controller for Merchants Bank Equipment Finance (MBEF), has been promoted to an Officer with MBEF, according to Richard Barry, President of MBEF.

“Greg is an integral part of the ongoing review of our financial performance and charting the course for our future,” Barry said. “His skill and insight have contributed greatly to our growth.”

In addition, to his duties as Controller, Rasmussen supports the MBEF Sales and Portfolio Management team in pricing, software support and detailed reporting.

“MBEF is an important part of our entire organization in that it provides a viable leasing alternative for customers,” Rasmussen said. “It’s been great to be a part of it as we’ve grown and helped our customers.”

MBEF’s primary sales office is in Minneapolis. Rasmussen’s office is in Winona, within the team at Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI), MBEF’s parent company, and Merchants Bank. Rasmussen has been very active running the transportation and pick-up for Merchants Bank’s “10 Days of Giving” food drive that supports the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services.

Rasmussen is a native of River Falls, Wis., and is a graduate of Winona State University. He joined MBEF in 2000, and was one of six employees. Today, MBEF has 12 employees and has continued to make a significant impact to MFGI’s bottom line. MBEF primarily provides equipment lease and loan financing options to businesses located throughout the central U.S. and also partners with other finance companies in equipment finance transactions outside its marketing footprint. MBEF finances tangible assets over terms of 2 to 10 years on equipment with values generally ranging from $50,000 to over $10 million. MBEF serves many industries, including construction, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, food and agriculture.

MFGI, the parent company for MBEF, owns 21 Merchants Bank locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, has more than $1.6 billion in assets and is one of the largest independent financial organizations in its region.

Marcus Krings Promoted to Credit Card Manager for Merchants Bank

Marcus Krings, Credit Card ManagerMarcus Krings has been promoted to Credit Card Manager, according to Sue Hovell, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking Performance for Merchants Bank.

“Marcus is focused on providing the best in customer service to our credit card customers,” Hovell said. “His knowledge will be a benefit to both our retail and business customers.”

Krings has been in banking for more than 11 years, including experience in customer service supervision. He has been with Merchants since 2012, starting in the Electronic Banking area. He joined the Credit Card department in 2016.

“Our credit cards are more than competitive. People will be pleased about how we compare to big bank credit cards and provide that community bank level of service. Plus, we take great care to help protect our customers from fraud,” Krings said.

Krings said Merchants offers a credit card security app, and the department makes it a point to contact people if there is suspected fraud on a credit card. Another area of emphasis is merchant processing, which helps businesses process card transactions.

“I’m looking forward to helping our cardholders,” Krings said. “If anyone has any questions about their credit cards, they should give us a call. We’re here to help.”

Krings is from Winona and is a graduate of Winona Senior High School and Winona State University. He succeeds Deb Kemp, who recently retired.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.