Merchants Bank Twin Cities Advisory Board of Directors Reappointed

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Lawrence Stovern, Twin Cities Regional President

The Merchants Bank Advisory Board of Directors for the Twin Cities region has been reappointed, according to Twin Cities Regional President Lawrence Stovern.

Reappointed to their positions on the Board were Board Chairman James A. Trenda, President CP Advisors, LLC; Heide C. Olson, CEO of All In One Accounting; Peggy Johnson, Community Relations Director for Dakota County Electric Association, and James Emond, a realtor with Remax Advantage Plus. The Advisory Board was reappointed at an April 18 meeting of the Merchants Bank Charter Board.

Stovern and Trenda, who is also a member of the Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) Board of Directors, reported about the recent MFGI Annual Meeting April 6 in Winona, where record earnings of $14,154,891 were reported. It was the second consecutive year of record earnings for MFGI.

“We continue to grow in the Twin Cities and contribute to the overall growth of our organization,” Stovern said. “Key to that growth is our ability to build long-term relationships, and that is where our Advisory Board of Directors is so critical.”

Merchants has five locations in the southern Twin Cities, including Apple Valley, Lakeville, Rosemount, Hastings and Cottage Grove. Merchants moved into a new facility in Cottage Grove late in 2016, after selling its previous location to Hy-Vee, to help make way for development in Cottage Grove.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to the Twin Cities locations 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. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Merchants Bank Advisory Board of Directors Reappointed

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Dan Massett, Central Region President

The Merchants Bank Advisory Board of Directors for Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton has been reappointed, according to Central Region President Dan Massett.

Reappointed to their positions on the Advisory Board were Board Chairman John O. Althoff, Retired Owner Althoff Hardware; Leslie M. Anderson, Farmer and Real Estate Agent Edina Realty; Donna R. Anderst, President and Chief Executive Officer SCS Elevator Products, Inc.; Richard A. Peterson, Owner Peterson Turkey Hatchery, Inc.; and Gary Schmidgall, Project Coordinator Hancock Concrete Products, LLC. The Advisory Board was reappointed at an April 18 meeting of the Merchants Bank Charter Board.

Massett said the Advisory Board was initially put in place after Merchants acquired the Cannon Falls and Red Wing locations 10 years ago and has been critical in the success of Merchants Bank in the Region.

“The people on our Board have provided exceptional direction and guidance in helping us to identify businesses that may be the best fit for our community bank,” Massett said. “They are always looking to make the communities we serve better places for business and better places to live. I am thankful for all they’ve done for their neighbors and for Merchants Bank, and I look forward to their continued input as we continue to grow.”

Merchants Bank has 21 locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton, Merchants has Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, 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. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Congratulate New and Promoted Staff

New Staff

AugedahlJulie Julie Augedahl, Mortgage Lender, Caledonia

Julie has nearly 10 years of experience in personal banking and lending in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She is an active volunteer in the Caledonia community, including as a member of the Caledonia Founders Day Committee. Julie has a General Education degree from Rochester Community College and a Business Management degree from Winona Technical College.

BartelKathy  Kathy Bartel, Teller, Onalaska

Kathy previously worked at Treehouse Gift and Home as a Web Store Manager and at Empire Screen Printing as a Receptionist and Account Manager. Kathy and her husband, love spending time with their children and grandchildren. 

BrooksMichaela  Michaela Brooks, Part-Time Teller, Hastings

Michaela previously worked at Dominos Pizza. She is a senior at Hastings High School and enjoys being a part of the show choir. Michaela is planning to attend Inver Hills Community College next year.

BrownJerad  Jerad Brown, Commercial & Ag Banker, Lanesboro & Rushford

Jerad, a native to the Lanesboro and Rushford area, has previous experience in credit analysis, ag and commercial lending and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) guaranty program. He is a graduate of Rushford-Peterson High School and South Dakota State University, with a major in Agriculture Science.

CarlsonHelen  Helen Carlson, Part-Time Teller, Rosemount

Helen is a senior at Rosemount High School and also currently works at Jimmy John’s.

HughesJean  Jean Hughes, Part-Time Teller, La Crescent

Jean was a teacher for 41 years at St. Mary’s Grade School and recently retired in May 2016. Jean enjoys reading, walking, and meeting new people.

KemmerlingKyle  Kyle Kemmerling, Part-Time Teller, Winona

Kyle is also currently working at Tenba Ridge Winery as a Tasting Room Sales Rep.

ThomasJulie   Julie Thomas, Part-Time Teller, Lakeville

Julie was previously self-employed as a daycare provider. Julie is excited to be part of the Merchants Bank team and is looking forward to getting to know her co-workers and customers.

Promotions and Transfers

AraujoEddie  Eddie Araujo, Customer Service Representative and Lead Teller, Lakeville

Eddie has been with Merchants since 2016. He was previously a Teller in Lakeville.

DonohoeKelly  Kelly Donohoe, Personal Banking Manager, Lakeville

Kelly has been with Merchants since 2012. She was previously a Customer Service Representative and Lead Teller in Lakeville. 

HerrmannBecky  Becky Herrmann, Cash Management Specialist, Onalaska

Becky has been with Merchants since 2012. She was previously a Customer Service Representative in Winona and Onalaska.

SeaverAshley  Ashley Seaver, Mortgage Lender, Lakeville

Ashley has been with Merchants since 2016. She was previously a Mortgage Loan Coordinator in Lakeville.

Richard T. Lommen, Jr. Re-elected to Merchants Financial Group, Inc., Board; Onalaska/La Crescent Advisory Board of Directors Reappointed

ChristiansenSteve

Steve Christiansen, Market President – Onalaska and La Crescent

During the Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) Annual Meeting on April 6, area business leader Richard T. Lommen Jr., was re-elected to a three-year term on the MFGI Board.

Lommen is also the Board Chairman for the Merchants Bank Advisory Board of Directors in La Crescent and Onalaska. Lommen, the President/Owner of Courtesy Corporation, is joined on the Advisory Board of Directors by a number of area business leaders.

The members of the Merchants Bank Advisory Board of Directors in La Crescent and Onalaska were reappointed to their roles following an April 18 meeting of the Merchants Bank Charter Board. In addition to Lommen, Advisory Board of Directors include Dean L. Ashbacher, President and Chief Executive Officer Truss Specialists, Inc.; Robert A. Heth, Jr., President Heth Hardware, Inc.; Stephen D. Loehr, Vice President of Operations Support Kwik Trip, Inc., and Michael D. Cunningham, Partner La Crescent Property Ventures L.L.C. and Former CEO and Owner The Board Store Furniture and Home Improvements. Cunningham also serves as a member of the MFGI Board.

“It is gratifying to see the commitment of our advisory board to helping continuing to grow our relationships throughout the area,” said Steve Christiansen, Market President of Merchants Bank in Onalaska and La Crescent. “They are well-known in our area for their knowledge and advocacy for business growth.”

MFGI reported record income for 2016 of $14,154,891, its second year in a row of record income. The Onalaska location was one of the leaders, with nearly $2.2 million in net income.

MFGI owns 21 Merchants Bank locations. In addition to La Crescent and Onalaska, Merchants has Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, 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 another Wisconsin location in Eau Claire. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

From the President’s Desk: First Quarter 2017 Edition

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By Greg Evans, President and CEO

In today’s commoditized banking arena, we know we must continue to find value-added ways to differentiate Merchants from a myriad of traditional bank and non-bank competitors. Our primary differentiators are aligned with the community banking business model we deploy.

Our community banking model includes our commitment to deliver an unparalleled level of personalized service and care to our customers. We choose to staff our local market branches in a manner that allows us to deliver on our brand promise to be the Bank that Service Built. The staffing model also includes our commitment to having Market Presidents who are empowered and required to deliver on an expectation of community engagement and leadership.

Another aspect of our Brand that I believe is a differentiator is our ownership structure. One thing that I’ve come to realize is that many of our customers are not aware that Merchants is a publicly-traded Company. That might seem somewhat irrelevant, but the ownership structure of the Merchants organization is unique, and has absolutely contributed to our business success over our history of more than 140 years.

Our employees own approximately 18% of the organization through an Employee Stock Ownership plan. Pride of ownership on the part of our employees helps drive the commitment we make to serving you in a manner that results in customer loyalty and business growth.

In addition to being an employee-owned Company, the balance of the ownership structure for Merchants is loosely held by approximately 600 individuals and organizations, mostly in the form of friends, neighbors and business leaders throughout our service area footprint. Our stock is available to anybody who might be motivated to take an ownership interest. Merchants Financial Group, Inc., shares are traded over the counter (OTC) under the symbol MFGI. If you would personally have an interest in acquiring Merchants stock, contact Merchants Bank for more information.

I personally take a great deal of pride in having an ownership interest in our Company, but value even more greatly the fact that ownership is comprised of my teammates and business leaders in our communities that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. I do believe this ownership structure has been critical to our long-term success.

The long-time loyalty of our shareholders has allowed us stay the course with an intense focus on slow, steady growth. In addition to holding management accountable for meeting financial performance expectations, our shareholders also have high expectations for us to deliver on community leadership responsibilities. As customers, they also demand a high level of personalized service and attention to their many banking needs.

This ownership structure really is a differentiator for Merchants. It allows management to take a disciplined approach to strategic thinking, one that allows a long-term focus. Local ownership is a strength of the Merchants Brand. If you have an interest in becoming another of our local Shareholders, contact Merchants Bank for more information.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Reports Record Year to Shareholders and Appoints Directors

EvansGreg

Greg Evans, President & CEO

During its annual meeting Thursday, the shareholders of Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) heard about the organization’s second consecutive record year, re-elected two Directors and elected a new Director to the MFGI Board of Directors.

Re-elected to three-year terms as Directors were: Kenneth J. Mogren, Retired President Winona Agency, Inc., and Richard T. Lommen, Jr., President/Owner Courtesy Corporation. Elected to a three-year term was Gregory M. Evans, President & Chief Executive Officer, Merchants Financial Group. Also recognized was Rodney R. Nelson, who retired as MFGI President & CEO and the MFGI Board at the end of January, 2017. Evans succeeded Nelson. Also recognized for his long service was MFGI Director David H. Keller, Retired President Lucas Body Systems, NA. Keller retired in 2016 after 31 years of service to the MFGI Board, including more than 15 as Board Chairman.

“One of the reasons we were able to experience a second consecutive record year has been the leadership of the MFGI Board of Directors and the leadership Rod exhibited as MFGI President and CEO,” Evans said. “With the support of our customers, shareholders and employees, we look forward to meeting our responsibility to continue to grow this exceptional community banking organization.”

During the meeting, Evans formally reported MFGI’s 2016 record year of $14,154,891 in net income, surpassing 2015’s record year if $13,454,698. Other high points reported were a loan growth increase of 6.8% over 2015. Deposits increased by 9.1% and MFGI’s share price grew 27.25% in 2016, ending 2016 at $54.50 per share. Total assets ended 2016 at $1.623 billion.

“Our shareholders provide all of us with exceptional support,” Evans said. “We are fortunate to be able to formally celebrate our achievements with them and look forward to the year ahead.”

Evans, Chief Financial Officer Sue Savat, and Chief Credit Officer Mark McGrory were featured speakers during the meeting.

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. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

The ownership of Merchants Financial Group is made up of its more than 440 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Tirzah Warren Promoted to Teller Administrator Officer at Merchants Bank

WarrenTirzah

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!”