Meet Sarah Danielson, Commercial Banker and Cash Management Specialist

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Sarah Danielson, Commercial Banker and Cash Management Specialist

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 helps me 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 cash 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.

Teresa Fegyak and Tina Bechtel Take on Additional Responsibilities at Merchants Bank in Spring Grove

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Teresa Fegyak, Personal Banker

Teresa Fegyak and Tina Bechtel have taken on additional responsibilities at Merchants Bank in Spring Grove. Fegyak is now a Personal Banker and Bechtel is now Customer Service Representative/Lead Teller, according to Matt Schuldt, President of Merchants Bank in Spring Grove and Caledonia.

“Teresa and Tina have great relationships with our customers in Spring Grove, and those customers will benefit more from the additional skill and service they will provide,”Schuldt said.

As a Personal Banker, Fegyak will now be able to help customers with consumer loans in addition to deposit accounts. She has been with the Merchants organization since 2000, when she started working with Merchants Bank in Caledonia. She moved to the Spring Grove branch in 2010.

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Tina Bechtel, Customer Service Representative/ Lead Teller

“Instead of having to refer customers who may need a loan to another banker, I’ll be able to help them. This will be more convenient for our great customers,”Fegyak said.

Bechtel, who has been serving as Lead Teller in both the Spring Grove and Caledonia locations, will add the Customer Service Representative responsibilities to her duties and focus on the Spring Grove location.

“With my additional responsibilities I look forward to helping people even more when they see us in Spring Grove,”Bechtel said.

Rhonda Merchlewitz Moves to Winona as Mortgage Loan Officer

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Rhonda Merchlewitz, Mortgage Loan Officer

Merchants Bank Mortgage Loan Officer Rhonda Merchlewitz has moved from St. Charles to Winona to meet the expanding need in the Winona market, according to Sue Hovell, Director of Retail Banking Performance.

“We’re excited to have Rhonda join our team in Winona,”Hovell said. “In addition to her skills with conventional mortgage loans, Rhonda is also very knowledgeable with other types of loans, including VA, FHA, Rural Development and Minnesota Housing. She is also an expert in our construction loans, which is perfect for people considering building.”

Merchlewitz has been in banking since 1998 and has been part of the Merchants team since 2004, working with customers in Merchants Bank in St. Charles, as well as serving the mortgage needs for the Merchants Bank locations in Rushford and Lanesboro.

“It’s been a great joy to work with my customers over the years, and meet their needs. I’ve enjoyed working with people several times as repeat customers and then helping their children as well,”Merchlewitz said. “I look forward to building the same sort of relationships with customers in Winona. It’s an exciting time for me.”

Merchlewitz spent time living in Winona before her move to Merchants in St. Charles. She said she is looking forward to a smooth transition, where she will meet the needs of current customers as she establishes her presence in Winona. Tami Krause will be taking on the new role of serving mortgage customers in St. Charles, as will Kari Johnson in Rushford and Lanesboro.

Biebel Joins Merchants Bank as Mortgage Operations Manager

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Dan Biebel, Mortgage Operations Manager

Dan Biebel has joined Merchants Bank as Vice President and Mortgage Operations Manager, according to Cindy Harrison, Senior Vice President for Credit Administration.

“We are excited to have Dan join our team. He has the experience and expertise in both mortgage sales and operations to successfully guide this critical area of our organization,”Harrison said.

As the leader of the mortgage operations area, Biebel will guide the 40 employees who support and process mortgage loans for Merchants’21 locations, as well as the 164 other community banking locations and credit unions across five states that make up Merchants Bank’s correspondent mortgage banking network.

“This is an exciting role with an organization with a well-known and growing reputation for excellence. I am looking forward to helping propel the continued growth of this area through providing exceptional service throughout the mortgage process to both our internal and external customers,”Biebel said.

Biebel has been in the mortgage industry since 1984, including time serving in leadership roles for LenderLive Network and TruHome Solutions, companies with both a regional and national presence. Biebel and his wife, Kathy, have two grown children.

Tammy Johnson Named Cash Management Sales Manager for the Merchants Bank Organization

Tammy Johnson, Cash Management Officer

Tammy Johnson, Cash Management Sales Manager

Tammy Johnson has been promoted to Assistant Vice President and Cash Management Sales Manager, according to Sue Hovell, Director of Retail Banking Performance for Merchants Bank.

Johnson will be the cash management sales and market support for the local teams at all 21 Merchants Bank locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She had been the Cash Management officer for the organization’s southern tier of banks since 2011 and has been with Merchants Bank for 17 years.

“Cash management products and services are designed to save businesses time and money, protect against any potential fraudulent activity and create opportunities for those businesses to grow,” Johnson said. “I look forward to working with experts at our locations to present the best options available for our current and future customers.”

The cash management/treasury management area is a focus for the Merchants Bank organization.

“Being able to service relationships locally sets us apart,” Hovell said. “With Tammy working with the local teams the result will be exceptional service for our customers. It is part of the personal relationship our tellers, customer service representatives, personal bankers and commercial bankers offer to all our customers. They look forward to applying their knowledge to develop solutions unique to your business and tailored for success.”

Johnson will support Merchants Bank 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. She will also support Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Subject to credit approval. Additionally, Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Katie Lund Joins Merchants Bank in Rochester as a Mortgage Lender

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Katie Lund, Mortgage Lender

Katie Lund has joined Merchants Bank in Rochester as a Mortgage Lender, according to John Doyle, President of Merchants Bank in Rochester.

Lund has been part of the Merchants Bank team since 2008, when she joined Merchants Bank Equipment Finance (then known as Merchants Capital Resources). Since 2013, she has worked at Merchants Bank in Rosemount as a Mortgage Loan Coordinator.

“Katie brings a great deal of knowledge and experience with the mortgage origination process, which will be an immediate benefit to our customers,”Doyle said. “She puts the needs of our customers first, and she is dedicated to making sure those needs are met. I know people will enjoy working with her.”

Lund’s office will be at Merchants Bank’s Northwest Plaza location. She is a native of St. Charles, MN, and has recently moved to Rochester with her family.

“I’m familiar with the needs of the individuals and families who are part of the Rochester market,”Lund said. “I’m excited to help people realize their dreams of home ownership with the programs and support we can offer at Merchants. Given the very active Rochester housing market, I’m especially looking forward to helping people get pre-qualified for their loans, so they can be first in line when they make an offer on their next home.”

Meet Tammy Johnson, Cash Management Officer

Tammy Johnson, Cash Management OfficerGet to know Tammy Johnson, our Cash Management Officer and member of our Commercial Banking team. At Merchants, we offer variety of Cash Management services to help businesses improve efficiency, security and more. Our options include tools for collection, distribution, security and management.

When did you start your banking career?
Tammy: I started at Merchants in February of 1999 as a Teller. Ten months later, I started working as a Customer Service Representative. Then, in 2011 I began working full time with our Cash Management Services. I actually just celebrated 17 years at Merchants Bank.

What do you like most about your job?
Tammy: I like the flexibility and the variety. Every business is different and has different needs. I get to meet and work with a lot of people in a lot of different types of businesses. Every day is different and every day is full of new opportunities.

What is your top cash management tip?
Tammy: Taking advantage of fraud management services, such as Positive Pay and ACH Filters. I cannot stress how important it is to protect what you have. In addition, staying educated on current scams and fraud detection options is key. I also highly recommend businesses monitor their account activity daily.

What do you hope your customers say about working with you?
Tammy: I would hope they would say that they enjoyed working with me and that I’m easy to work with. I would hope they feel they have learned a lot from me and benefited from my knowledge and advice.

Can you help businesses assess which Cash Management services make sense for them? How does this process work?
Tammy: Absolutely! If a business is considering moving to Merchants Bank, we offer to analyze their statements and ask them walk us through their typical daily banking practices. Then, we can offer suggestions and solutions to match their current practices or enhance them.

For our current customers, we keep an open line of communication. Business needs are always evolving and what worked 10 years ago, might not work as well today. We make sure we’re there to help them take the next step, so they have the tools necessary to be successful.

What does community banking mean to you?
Tammy: To me, it’s simple…… it’s about building relationships. It’s customers knowing their banker and bankers knowing their customers and having a banking partner that understands your business.

What are some of the biggest benefits to a business using Cash Management services?
Tammy: Simply put, Cash Management services can create efficiencies for a business. They can help streamline some day-to-day processes. At the end of the day, time is money and most times, money can be saved.

Fees may apply.