Meet Kathy Simon, Credit Card Specialist



Kathy with some of her co-workers: (l-r) Carol Bell, Kathy Simon, Ashley Wagner, Marcus Krings

When did you start your banking career?

Kathy: I started as a teller when I was 20 years old. I came to Merchants Bank in 2008 as a File Clerk, and then moved to Loan Servicing and Credit Cards.

What is your top banking tip?

Kathy: I would say check your statements for fraud. We see credit card fraud daily. If you pay attention to your statements, either paper or online, you may be able to catch fraud in time. If you suspect fraud on your account, the window to act is within 60 days from the statement’s cut-off date.

Acting as soon as you suspect something is always best. Or better yet, download our SecurLOCK mobile app on your mobile device to monitor your Merchants Credit Card daily. Many other cards have similar apps; take advantage of them to protect yourself.

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

Kathy: My mom always said, “Put money away for a rainy day!” That’s such a “mom” thing to say, isn’t it? It was great advice. A little saved goes a long way later.

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

Kathy: I would travel to Europe and give some to family and friends.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Kathy: It’s a toss-up between trees and avocados. If I had to pick, I’d say trees.

Click here to learn more about Credit Cards at Merchants Bank. Credit cards are subject to credit approval.

Merchants Bank to Acquire The First National Bank of Northfield

Greg Evans, Merchants Bank President & CEO and David Shumway. First National Bank of Northfield CEO

Merchants Bank and The First National Bank of Northfield have reached a definitive agreement for Merchants to acquire the Northfield banking institution, according to Gregory M. Evans, President & CEO of Merchants Financial Group, Inc. and Merchants Bank, N.A. The agreement is subject to regulatory agency approval, but it is fully expected that the deal will close before year-end 2019.

Hear Greg Evans & Rick Etsenson of First National discuss the agreement on the KYMN Morning Show with Jeff Johnson.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to be joining the Northfield community and continuing The First National Bank’s tradition of high quality customer service and community involvement,” said Evans. “We are also humbled by the stewardship responsibility that comes with ensuring First National’s legacy with its customers and in the community will continue to be nurtured and never forgotten.”

Both First National Bank and Merchants Bank have rich histories of service in their respective communities in southeastern Minnesota. First National was chartered in Northfield in 1873, and Merchants’ history began in Winona in 1875.

“There are tremendous challenges today for smaller community banks, so we made the strategic decision to find the right partner to provide broader financial services and technology tools that will be expected by our customers well into the future,” said David Shumway, CEO for The First National Bank of Northfield. “We know Merchants is the right partner, and our due diligence identified Merchants as an organization absolute in its commitment to shared values of community leadership and strong service culture.”

The First National Bank of Northfield has $207 million in assets, $157 million in loans (plus an additional $60 million in sold loan participations) and $183 million in deposits. Internationally recognized as the bank that defeated Jesse James in 1876, First National Bank operates out of two branches in Northfield and a loan production office in Minneapolis.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merchants Financial Group, Inc. will acquire all of the outstanding stock of The First National Bank of Northfield in an all cash transaction. The amount of the sale was not disclosed.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank is the fifth-largest banking organization headquartered in the state of Minnesota with more than $1.76 billion in assets.

Meet Dave Engstler, Consumer Banker at Merchants Bank

Dave Engstler, Consumer Banker

How long have you been with Merchants?
Dave: More than 15 years. In that time, I’ve always been a Lender with Merchants and always in our Rochester Green Meadows office.

What is your top banking tip?
Dave: Live within your means.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?
Dave: Basically, save first.

If you won the Powerball, what’s the first thing you would do?
Dave: I would make sure my son had enough money for college.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?
Dave: I really like pine trees. In Northern Minnesota, it’s pine trees and water. I love that part of the state…just smell and the fresh air.

Grandma Helen’s Cut-Out Cookies

Cut out cookies recipe

Cut-out cookies are a favorite at Christmastime. Here’s a recipe you’re sure to love!


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup lard
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups thick sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda (mixed into sour cream)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 cups flour

Mix first 8 ingredients well, then add flour. Roll and cut-out. Bake at 300 degrees. Watch carefully, don’t let the bottoms get brown. When they look a little tan, pull them out of the oven. Makes 6 dozen cookies, depending on size of cut-outs.



  • 1 stick of butter (in cereal bowl)
  • Pour milk until halfway up butter (I know, grandmas’ recipe!)
  • Microwave for 2 minutes, stop every 45 seconds to stir. Add:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla

Blend with mixer. If it is too thick, add milk; if too runny, add powdered sugar. Split into separate bowls to add food coloring as desired.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

Ham & cheese quiche


  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup Bisquick
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika


Sprinkle ham, cheese, broccoli, onion and green pepper over the bottom of a greased 10-inch quiche pan or glass pie dish. Set aside.

Place Bisquick in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour Bisquick mixture over ingredients in quiche pan. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of quiche comes out clean.


Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

Pumpkin Dip Recipe

Pumpkin dip recipe


  • 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger


Mix cream cheese and sugar together and beat until smooth. Add pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger. Beat until well combined. Serve with apple slices and ginger snaps.

Cooks note: Recipe can be cut in half by using a 3 oz. package cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 can pumpkin.

Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc Announces Earnings of $13,785,285 through Third Quarter of 2018, Pays 70 Cents Per Share Dividend

Greg Evans, President & CEO

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced a net income of $13,785,285 through the first three quarters of 2018 and significantly increased the semiannual dividend paid to Shareholders, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.

“Our core earnings continue to be strong, which in the end benefits all of our customers, the communities we serve and our Shareholders,” said Evans. “We are proud to be a safe, strong bank with growth that allows us to contribute to the economic vitality of this specific region, where all of our resource deployment is focused.”

Net income is $3.1 million ahead of MFGI’s plan for 2018 and is an increase of $4.94 million compared to last year. Several Merchants Bank locations and the Merchants Bank Equipment Finance and Mortgage Operations divisions exceeded their respective performance forecasts through three quarters.

During its October meeting, the MFGI Board of Directors approved a dividend of 70 cents per share to shareholders, up from 61 cents per share for the first half of the year. The semiannual dividends paid to Merchants’ Shareholders for 2018 is an increase of 18% compared to a year ago.

“As is always the case, our strong performance has been the result of a total team effort. I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished together and am optimistic about our performance for the remainder of the year,” said Evans.

MFGI owns 21 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. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Merchants Financial Group is a publicly-traded Company. Ownership is made up of its more than 440 employees and mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.