Meet Carol Bell, Credit Card Specialist at Merchants Bank

Carol Bell, Credit Card Specialist

Carol Bell, Credit Card Specialist

Get to know Carol Bell from the Credit Card department at Merchants Bank.

When did you start your banking career? What are you looking forward to in your new position?

Carol: I started at Merchants Bank in 2002 and have worked in departments everywhere from compliance to mortgage processing to loan servicing to underwriting and now I’m here in credit cards. I’m looking forward to taking the knowledge I’ve gained from other departments to help our credit card customers as much as I can.

What is your best banking tip?

Carol: I think it’s really important to bank locally so you can build a trusting relationship with people that understand your area and can provide reliable, personalized service.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?

Carol: My dad says, “If you don’t have the money for it, don’t buy it.” Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as larger, long-term purchases like a car or college tuition, but it is still a good thing to remember for day-to-day purchases. Simply put: be responsible with your money.

If you had $1,875,000 what is one FUN thing you’d do with the money?

Carol: I would travel somewhere warm…with a beach…clear waters…and cold beverages!

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Carol: Honestly, Christmas trees!

Subject to credit approval.

Tirzah Warren Promoted to Teller Administrator Officer at Merchants Bank

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Tirzah Warren, Teller Administrator Officer

Teller Administrator Tirzah Warren has been promoted to a Bank officer, according to Sue Hovell, Merchants Bank’s Director of Retail Banking Performance.

Warren took over Teller Administrator duties last summer and since that time has been supervising the Winona teller team at the Winona downtown, drive-up, Goodview and Lakeside locations.

“The promotion recognizes Tirzah’s contribution to the overall strategies of the Bank and success in leading her team to achieve or exceed key performance measures,” Hovell said.

Warren has been with the Merchants organization since 1999, when she started as a teller in Goodview. She was later promoted to Lead Teller in Goodview and served in that position for 10 years. She moved to the Lakeside location and was Lead Teller there for three years. At the beginning of 2016 she was named Assistant Teller Administrator until her promotion to Teller Administrator. She said she is focused on service.

“I come to work every day with a ‘servant leadership’mentality. I am here to serve my customers, to serve my tellers and to serve the Bank. I have spent all 18 of my years at Merchants in the teller department because I care deeply about how our customers are served and about the tellers,” Warren said. “I am excited about the growth I know this teller department can achieve!”

Brad Brolsma Announces Retirement from Merchants Bank Equipment Finance

BrolsmaBradBrad Brolsma, President of Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, has announced his retirement, effective December 31, 2016, according to Rodney R. Nelson, CEO of Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI).

Brolsma has been President of Merchants Bank Equipment Finance (MBEF), previously known as Merchants Capital Resources, since 2002. MBEF is a division of Merchants Bank. Merchants has begun the process of working with an executive search firm to fill this leadership position.

“Brad has provided exceptional leadership and MBEF has contributed significantly to our bottom line throughout his tenure,” Nelson said. “Brad will be difficult to replace. His team will miss him, as will all members of our organization.”

Brolsma said it has been gratifying to see the reach and influence of MBEF grow. The company provides equipment financing options to businesses located throughout the Upper Midwest and also partners with other finance companies in equipment finance transactions outside of its marketing footprint. Founded in 1988, MBEF provides equipment financing options to best meet the needs of its customers across many industries, including construction, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing and food and agriculture.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with an exceptional group of professionals who are always focused on meeting and exceeding the needs of our customers and for an organization that really epitomizes the very best in community banking,” Brolsma said.

MBEF is located in Edina. In addition to MBEF, MFGI owns Merchants Bank 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. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders.

Mike Swanson and Pam Timp to Provide Cash Management Solutions for Merchants Bank in the Twin Cities

MikeandPamPromotionMike Swanson and Pam Timp of Merchants Bank will be taking the lead in providing Cash Management solutions for businesses in the Twin Cities.

They will be providing Cash Management expertise for business customers for all Merchants Bank’s Twin Cities locations –Hastings, Cottage Grove, Apple Valley, Lakeville and Rosemount. Swanson has moved to Merchants Bank’s Hastings location, where he has also been promoted to Commercial Banker. Timp will be available at the Lakeville location.

Merchants Bank’s Cash Management products and services are designed to save businesses time and money, protect against potential fraudulent activity and create opportunities for those businesses to grow. It is an area of focus for the Merchants Bank organization.

“I’m looking forward to working with our business customers throughout the Twin Cities and show them how our Cash Management solutions may be able to help them in ways they may not have expected,” Swanson said.

Swanson has been with the Merchants Bank organization for four years and in banking for 15 years. Most recently he served as the Senior Consumer Banker and Branch Manager in Merchants’ Lakeville location. Timp has been with the Merchants Bank organization for almost three years, serving as Lending Assistant and Customer Service Representative in Lakeville.

Nick Pederson Joins Merchants Bank as a Commercial Banker

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Nick Pederson, Commercial Banker

Nick Pederson has joined Merchants Bank in Rochester as a Commercial Banker, according to John Doyle, President of Merchants Bank in Rochester.

“We’re excited to have someone with Nick’s experience finding solutions for customers and knowledge of the Rochester market join our team,”Doyle said. “We look forward to him helping more and more businesses discover Merchants Bank.”

Pederson has been working in the Rochester area for the past 10 years and has helped commercial loan customers at Wells Fargo, Think Bank and US Bank.

“I’m excited to join Merchants Bank because it’s a true community bank with a strong focus on commercial banking,” Pederson said. “Merchants has earned its reputation as an area leader in building long-term relationships built on finding solutions for its customers.”

Pederson is active in the community and serves on the Board of the Southeastern Minnesota Center of Independent Living (SEMCIL). He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and an MBA from Augsburg College. Pederson was born and raised in Rochester.

Tami Krause Takes on Mortgage Lending Responsibilities at Merchants Bank in St. Charles

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Tami Krause has added Mortgage Lender to her responsibilities at Merchants Bank in St. Charles, according to Jim Allen, President for Merchants Bank in St. Charles.

“As a mortgage lender Tami will continue to show her dedication to our customers by providing them with the best possible service,”Allen said. “In her career, she has consistently shown that attention to detail and personal needs that our customers deserve and expect.”

Krause started her banking career with Merchants in 2002 as a lead teller. She has held various positions in her time with Merchants. In 2007, she took on Consumer Lending responsibilities. She will continue with her consumer lending responsibilities in addition to her new mortgage lending responsibilities.

“It’s a privilege to help people get into their next home –whether that’s a first, second, third or fourth home,”Krause said. “It remains a great time to buy or refinance a home. Rates are still low.”

Krause will be filling the mortgage lending role in St. Charles that had been filled by Rhonda Merchlewitz. Merchlewitz remains with Merchants Bank as a mortgage lender in Winona.

Kari Johnson Adds Mortgage Lending to Her Responsibilities at Merchants Bank in Rushford and Lanesboro

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Kari Johnson, Personal Banker

Personal Banker Kari Johnson has added Mortgage Lending to her duties and will be helping customers with mortgage loans in both Merchants Bank’s Rushford and Lanesboro locations, according to Ken Graner, President for Merchants Bank in Rushford and Lanesboro.

“Our customers will benefit from Kari being able to help them with their mortgage loans. She has always embraced the chance to do what she can to help customers meet their goals, and I know she will excel in providing the best service to families in Rushford and Lanesboro,”Graner said.

As a Personal Banker, Johnson helps customers open new accounts and with consumer loans. Johnson joined Merchants Bank in November of 2013 after Merchants acquired the Rushford location from Associated Bank. Johnson has been in banking for 20 years.

“Helping customers with their mortgages is a better opportunity for our customers to receive the full-service solutions they deserve in our locations,”Johnson said. “With the current rate environment it’s a fantastic time for someone to refinance or purchase a home. I look forward to helping customers in any way I can.”

Rhonda Merchlewitz had been assisting customers with mortgage loans in Rushford, Lanesboro and St. Charles. Merchlewitz has moved to Merchants Bank’s Downtown Winona location.

Mike Swanson Promoted to Commercial Banker and Cash Management Specialist at Merchants Bank in Hastings

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Mike Swanson, Commercial Banker and Cash Management Specialist

Mike Swanson has been promoted to Commercial Banker and Cash Management Specialist at Merchants Bank in Hastings, according to Bruce Goblirsch, President of Merchants Bank in Hastings.

“I’m looking forward to working with business customers to help meet their goals on the lending side of the business and showing them how our Cash Management products may be able to help those businesses in ways they may not have expected,” Swanson said.

Swanson has been with the Merchants Bank organization for four years and in banking for 15 years. Most recently he served as the Senior Consumer Banker and Branch Manager in Merchants’ Lakeville location. He started with Merchants Bank in Apple Valley.

“Mike has been successful at every aspect of banking because he always puts the needs of customers first. I expect that he will do an exceptional job helping the businesses in and around Hastings,” Goblirsch said. “Plus, his understanding of how we can help businesses with Cash Management is really an incredible benefit as they make their money work smarter.”

Swanson will be part of the team supporting Merchants Bank locations throughout the Twin Cities –including Apple Valley, Lakeville, Cottage Grove, Rosemount and Hastings –with his Cash Management expertise. Merchants Bank’s Cash Management products and services are designed to save businesses time and money, protect against potential fraudulent activity and create opportunities for those businesses to grow. It is an area of focus for the Merchants Bank organization.

Randy Bachman Promoted to Branch Manager, Personal Banking Officer at Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove

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Randy Bachman, Branch Manager and Personal Banking Officer

Randy Bachman has been promoted to Branch Manager and Personal Banking Officer at Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove, according to Lawrence Stovern, Regional President for Merchants Bank in the Twin Cities.

“Randy reflects the very best of our company values. He is respected by our staff and our customers,”Stovern said. “He’s always looking to improve the experience for everyone who comes into the Bank, and he’s dedicated to making the community better as well.”

In addition to his duties in Cottage Grove, Bachman will help to oversee Merchants Bank’s transition to a renovated facility at 8479 East Point Douglas Road South in the Fall. Currently, the Bank is at 7200 East Point Douglas Road South, which has been sold to Hy-Vee to make room for its expansion.

“We’re looking forward to the new facility and meeting the needs of our customers there,” Bachman said. “For us, it’s all about being a community partner and making sure we are exceeding the needs of our personal and business customers.”

Bachman has been with the Merchants Bank organization since 2012. He has been in banking since 2007. He is active in the Cottage Grove community, including the Holiday Train committee, Cottage Grove Area Chamber Government Affairs Committee and the Cottage Grove Area Chamber Golf Classic, a fund raiser for the Chamber Scholarship Fund.

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.