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.

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.

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.”

Merchants Bank Mortgage Lender Arlene Schwerzler Recognized in “Independent Banker” Magazine

Arlene Schwerzler, Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank

Arlene Schwerzler, Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank

Merchants Bank Mortgage Lender Arlene Schwerzler has been recognized in the July issue of “Independent Banker” magazine as an outstanding community banker.

The magazine, a publication of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), recognized six community bankers from around the country.

“It’s important to me to work with my customers from the beginning of the process to the end, so they understand the advantages of being smart borrowers. I take pride in educating my customers. I want them to understand why good credit is important and how mortgage pre-approval can benefit them, among other things,” Schwerzler said. “The recognition in the magazine is nice, but it’s really just a bonus for doing what I really like to do.”

Schwerzler is the top mortgage producer for the Merchants organization in total number of loans, with more than 1,025 in the past three years. Schwerzler has been with Merchants for more than 17 years and has consistently been a top producer.

“Arlene is so good at what she does because she understands and can communicate the technical side of a mortgage and also helps people through the emotional side of the process,” said Sue Hovell, Schwerzler’s supervisor and a Senior Vice President at Merchants. “The real testament to her commitment to helping her customers is that most of her business comes from referrals.”

Mortgage Lender Mary Illetschko Earns Promotion at Merchants Bank

Mary Illetschko, VP/Mortgage Loan Officer

Mary Illetschko, VP/Mortgage Loan Officer

Mary Illetschko has been promoted to Vice President/Mortgage Loan Officer at Merchants Bank in Lakeville because of her exceptional performance, according to Merchants Bank in Lakeville President Dan Vlasak.

“Mary has been a great contributor to the success of Merchants Bank and the Lakeville office,” Vlasak said. “She has been a consistently high producer, ranking in the top three in the organization in total volume for loans closed, and she also helps her mortgage customers become customers in other areas.”

Illetschko has been with the Merchants Bank organization for nearly four years and in the mortgage industry for 24 years.

“I enjoy helping people with their mortgages because you can assist them in making the best choices during an important time,” Illetschko said. “Whether it is the purchase of a first home, refinancing a current home or making the decision to build a new home, people deserve and appreciate good advice from someone who knows the mortgage industry.”

Illetschko said she has been fortunate to receive many referrals from her former clients, and over the past year she’s seen an increased demand for Merchants Bank’s construction loan product, where qualified applicants may be able to start for as little as a 5% down payment.

Construction and permanent financing are subject to separate credit approval. Terms and conditions may vary.

Meet Dawn Garms, Mortgage Lender at Merchants

Garms,DawnWhen did you start your banking career?

Dawn: I started as a mortgage Lender with Altra in 2001. I was there for twelve years and then came to Merchants in 2013.

What is your top tip for a first time home-buyer?

Dawn: Get pre-approved first. Pre-approval helps you determine the maximum amount you can spend to purchase a home. You can also go over what to expect for monthly payments, down payments and other mortgage options with a lender at that time. It really gives you a clear picture of what you can afford and how that fits into what you’re comfortable with for your personal monthly budget.

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

Dawn: The best thing they taught me is the importance of knowing your finances. Know what you can handle so that you are comfortable in your monthly budget.

If you won the Powerball, what’s the first thing you would do?

Dawn: I would travel all over Europe for an extended period of time, and explore all of the different countries.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Dawn: The green of fresh trees on a mountain hike.

What’s one lesson you learned when buying your own home?

Dawn: Use a lender that is knowledge so they can guide you through the process. Buying a home should not cause a headache…it should be a smooth, pain-free process.

Subject to credit approval. Contact Dawn today to get start the application process for mortgage pre-approval. To find current mortgage rates and apply online, visit our website.