Debit Card Customers have been Reissued EMV Chip Cards

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All current Merchants Bank MasterCard Debit Cards have been reissued as EMV Chip MasterCard Debit Cards. Cards were mailed the last week of October and first week of November. You are encouraged to activate and use your new card(s) by the end of November. All existing (non-chip debit cards) will be deactivated as of December 1.

Why the change to chip technology? With this change, you’ll be able to take advantage of the security features of EMV chip technology, which can help prevent fraudulent transactions.

What is an EMV chip card?
The term “EMV” stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa – the original developers of chip cards. These cards increase the security of in-person transactions by generating a one-time use code that can only be read by a register enabled to read chip cards. The code is created from the small chip on the front of your card and is hard to counterfeit, which prevents fraud.

Is paying with a chip card different from paying with my other cards?
Yes, making a payment with a chip card is slightly different than the card transactions you are used to. Instead of swiping your card at the register, you’ll simply follow these instructions:

Step 1: Insert the chip end of your card into the terminal with the chip facing up.

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Step 2: Keep the card in the terminal during the transaction and follow the prompts on the screen.

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Step 3: Take your card when prompted. It’s that easy!

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Do all stores accept EMV chip cards?
Not yet, but the trend is growing. You can still make a purchase at a store that does not yet accept chip cards by simply swiping to pay.

What happens if I swipe my EMV chip card instead of inserting it into the register?
The terminal will display a message asking you to insert your card instead.

If I don’t have a Merchants Bank Debit Card, how can I request a debit card with chip technology?
Just send us an email to let us know you’re interested. If you’d like to learn more about EMV chip technology, contact the Customer Service Representative at your local Merchants Bank.

If you are a business and would like to accept EMV cards, contact our Credit Card department.

Merchants Financial Group, Inc. Posts Earnings of $9,774,109 Through the First Three Quarters of 2016; Onalaska Location Makes Significant Contributions

mfgiq3resultsMerchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) announced net income of $9,774,109 through the first three quarters of 2016, according to MFGI President & CEO Rodney R. Nelson. Nelson pointed out that the Merchants Bank location in Onalaska contributed significantly to the performance.

Nelson said the Onalaska location ended with $1,777,844 in net income for the first nine months of the year, which was 62.4% over budget for the location. Nelson noted that total loans for Onalaska were up 36% and Commercial Real Estate balances increased 49% compared to a year ago.

“I think we have the best banking team in the La Crosse area,”said Merchants Bank — Onalaska President Steve Christiansen. “We spend time building relationships, and we always strive to treat people well. We have been pleased to help businesses who have needed our assistance, and we look forward to helping others who may not have experienced the Merchants Bank difference or who may not know of our capabilities.”

Nelson shared that the MFGI Board of Directors voted to reward its shareholders with a one cent per share dividend increase from 55 cents to 56 cents. Earlier this year, the MFGI Board increased the dividend from 53 cents to 55 cents per share. MFGI stock is currently trading at or near record highs, $48.75 per share as of earlier this week.

Nelson recently announced he will be retiring as of January 31, 2017. Winona Market President and Chief Banking Officer for the organization Greg Evans has been named as his successor.

“We are in a good position. I know that under Greg’s leadership and with the support of our teammates, we will continue to grow and be successful,”Nelson said.

MFGI owns 21 Merchants Bank locations, including Wisconsin locations in Onalaska and Eau Claire. Minnesota locations include 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. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders.  Subject to credit approval. 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 450 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Meet Rebekah Hicks, Electronic Banking Specalist

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Rebekah and her daughter, Amelia

Tell us about your banking career.

Rebekah: I started my banking career in 2006 in a large corporate bank. Since then I have a worked in a variety of financial institutions. I chose Merchants as my career home because the size is small enough to provide our customers with hometown service, yet large enough to be competitive in our region.

What is your top electronic banking tip?

Rebekah: Whether it is a business or a personal banking product, decide what is important to you as a consumer and find a bank that falls in line with those values. Merchants Bank is the bank that service built. Meaning we are driven by your fellow community members who work and play alongside you. We are your neighbors working for you to better our community.

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

Rebekah: A lesson of financial responsibility that I remember my brother and I learning from our parents was budgeting. They presented this visually by having three separate jars for each of us. One was for spending, one was for saving and the other was for giving.

We set a dollar amount as a goal one summer to work towards with our savings, at the end of the summer we were rewarded for meeting our savings goal with a gaming console. The reward associated with our savings is a life lesson we both carried with us into adulthood and hope to share with our children.

If you could ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, who would you want to ring it with?

Rebekah: Getting to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange would be a unique and exciting experience I would like to share with my daughter. It sounds like it would make a great stop on a memorable family vacation also allowing for us to get to see all the other sites the city has to offer.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Rebekah: Besides money, my favorite green thing is the next best thing to money – it’s my Merchants Bank Debit Card. I really enjoy the convenience of not having to carry cash for all my purchases.

To meet our entire Electronic Banking team, visit our website.

Meet Ashley Wagner, Electronic Banking Specialist at Merchants

How long have you been with Merchants?

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Ashley and her daughter, Everly

Ashley: I’ve been with Merchants Bank for 2 years.  Prior to working at Merchants, I didn’t have any banking experience. Over the past two years, I have really grown into my Electronic Banking position and enjoy what I do.  Technology is always changing and with that, my job is always changing as well.

What is your top electronic banking tip?

Ashley: Let us know when you’ll be traveling, especially if you’re traveling outside the country. That way we can document your trip and offer you advice on your debit card usage while traveling.

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

Ashley: Try to save when you can, but also have a little fun with your money.

If you won the Powerball (currently estimated at $700 million) what’s the first thing you would buy?

Ashley: I would pay off my student loans, buy a new house and take a trip to Bora Bora.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Ashley: Green Haribo gummy bears.

To meet our entire Electronic Banking team, visit our website.

Meet Lucas Stangl, Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants Bank

Lucas Stangl, Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants, with his two children in Disneyland.

Lucas Stangl, Electronic Banking Representative at Merchants, with his two children in Disneyland.

When did you start your banking career?

Lucas: I started at Wells Fargo in 2011 as a Teller and then became a Teller Manager. When I came to Merchants, I knew I wanted to work for a bank I believed in and one that is there for the community. Electronic Banking is a great fit for me because I like helping our customers solve problems. Plus, there’s a lot of variety with my job, which I really enjoy.

What is your top electronic banking tip?

Lucas: There are a couple of things that can make using Online Banking easier for our customers.

First, when you’re reviewing your accounts online, make sure check the available balance and not the current balance. The available balance is what you actually have available to spend. Sometimes the difference can be confusing, so make sure you’re looking at the right balance before you make a purchase.

When completing online transfers, review the details of the transfer and click the confirm button. If you don’t click confirm, the transfer won’t go through.

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

Lucas: Don’t impulse buy. Wait a few days and if you still want that particular item, then go buy it.

If you could ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange with anyone, who would it be and why?

Lucas: My kids. Hazen is nine and Ada is six. My wife and I try to teach the importance of experiences and I think that would be a very memorable experience for them.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Lucas: Any golf course. I started golfing when I was five years old and actually worked at a golf course in Pennsylvania for ten years – it was really fun.

For more information on our electronic banking options, visit our website.

What You Need to Know: Same Day ACH

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A new ruling by the association that governs electronic payments (NACHA) will require all financial institutions to accept and process certain transactions, called ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments, from businesses same-day. This service is also referred to as Same Day ACH.

While there are many components to Same Day ACH, let’s start with the basics.

What is Same Day ACH?
Same Day ACH is an optional payment method for businesses where payments sent “today” may be received and credited “today.” These payments:

  • Can be sent to any bank account in the United States, including personal accounts.
  • Cannot equal more than $25,000 per transaction.
  • Only include credits.

The Same Day ACH ruling was effective September 23, 2016.

How does Same Day ACH affect my business?
You may also notice Same Day ACH payments may be credited to your accounts more quickly, increasing your funds availability and cash flow opportunities. Plus, payments and payment-related information may flow more rapidly from bank to bank.

In addition to these benefits, Same Day ACH could also impact:

  • Your accounting system
  • Intra-day settlement
  • Trading partner agreements

It’s important to review and prepare these areas of your business for the upcoming Same Day ACH changes.

If your business would like more information on Same Day ACH, contact one of our Cash Management Specialists.

Enter Our Halloween Coloring Contest

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It’s easy to enter!

  1. Color your coloring sheet.
    0-5 years coloring sheet
    6-9 years coloring sheet
    10+ years coloring sheet
  2. Complete the Registration Information at the bottom of this page.
  3. Drop off or mail your completed coloring sheet to your nearest participating Merchants Bank location by October 28 to be entered in our contest. You could win a prize!*

Merchants Bank locations participating in this year’s Halloween Coloring Contest include: Cannon Falls, Cottage Grove, Rosemount, Winona-Downtown, Winona-Goodview, Winona-Lakeside.

And, because you and all of our young savers are important to us, we’ll have a special Halloween treat waiting for you for returning your entry. We look forward to seeing you and don’t forget to tell a friend about our Halloween coloring contest!

*Please submit entries by October 28, 2016. Judging will take place on October 31, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. Three age groups: 0-5 years, 6-9 years, and 10 years and older. A prize will be awarded to each age group. No purchase or customer relationship necessary to enter or win. One entry per person. Winner will be notified by telephone. Children of Merchants employees are not eligible to win.