Ben Franko Joins Merchants Bank in Eau Claire as a Mortgage Lender

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Ben Franko, Mortgage Lender

Ben Franko has joined Merchants Bank in Eau Claire as a Mortgage Lender and Assistant Vice President, according to Larry Accola, President for Merchants Bank in Eau Claire.

“We’re excited to add Ben to our team. His knowledge and passion for our community, the Chippewa Valley and mortgage lending will make the experience easy for customers as he guides them through the mortgage loan process from start to finish and helps get them into the right home,” Accola said.

Franko has been serving customers throughout the area in a number of roles over the past 13 years, including more than nine years in mortgage lending, most recently with Wells Fargo.

“I believe the most important part of banking is the relationship between a banker and customer,” Franko said. “And the best place for a customer to develop that sort of relationship is in a true community bank like Merchants, where it’s clear the Bank puts its customers’ best interests at the forefront of what it does each and every day.”

One of Merchants Bank’s strengths is that it services its loans, which means that questions are answered by a Merchants Bank employee who lives in the area. Currently, Merchants Bank services more than $2.5 billion in mortgage loans.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Franko has been involved in the community and currently serves as President for the Community Table Board of Directors. Franko and his wife, Sonja, have a son, George, and a daughter, Madeline.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including its location in Eau Claire and another Wisconsin location in Onalaska. Minnesota locations include Winona, St. Charles, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, La Crescent, 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. Loans are subject to approval. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Chris Thrune Joins Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove as a Mortgage Lender

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Chris Thrune has joined Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove as a Mortgage Lender and Customer Service Representative, according to Randy Bachman, Branch Manager and Personal Banking Officer for Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove.

“We’re excited to have Chris with us in Cottage Grove. He has a great deal of experience with the Merchants Bank organization,” Bachman said. “He loves working with customers, and it shows in everything he does.”

Before joining the team in Cottage Grove, Thrune spent three years working for Merchants as a Teller and another year as an Electronic Banking Specialist, helping customers with a variety of needs, including Online and Mobile Banking questions. He said he’s looking forward to working with customers in his new roles, especially as a mortgage lender.

“Buying a new home is exciting, and every customer has different needs,” Thrune said. “What I enjoy most about mortgage lending is using my knowledge to satisfy those needs and help make the loan process easy for my customers from start to finish.”

Thrune, who has a Finance degree from Winona State University, encourages mortgage customers to get a head start on others looking for homes in this competitive housing market.

“My top advice for home buyers is to get pre-approved before starting home shopping,” Thrune said. “This will give you a good sense of your budget and put you in a strong position when it’s time to make an offer.”

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including its location in Cottage Grove and other southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount.  Other Minnesota locations include Winona, St. Charles, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, La Crescent, Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton. Wisconsin locations are in Eau Claire and Onalaska. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Loans are subject to approval. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Jenna Bauer is now a Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank in Hastings

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Jenna Bauer, Mortgage Lender

Already a familiar face to the customers at Merchants Bank in Hastings, Jenna Bauer has accepted a new role as a Mortgage Lender at Merchants, according to Merchants Bank in Hastings President Bruce Goblirsch.

Bauer has been with Merchants for six years, working with customers as both a Customer Service Representative and a Lead Teller.

“Jenna understands and is committed to our customers,” Goblirsch said. “They already know how good she is at helping them get what is best for their banking needs. Her new mortgage customers will find that out as well.”

Bauer said knowing the Hastings customers and the Hastings market is a bonus to her as she starts as a Mortgage Lender.

“I’m looking forward to helping my current and my new customers in a different way, working with them to get into the home they want and fitting them with the best mortgage to meet their needs,” Bauer said. “I want them to know that I’ll be there for them from start to finish.”

Long-time Hastings Mortgage Lender John Aarness is retiring at the end of June.

Merchants Bank Twin Cities locations include Hastings, Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Lakeville and Rosemount. Merchants Bank has 21 locations in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin, including Minnesota locations in 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. Subject to approval. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Julie Augedahl Joins Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove as a Mortgage Lender

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Julie Augedahl, Mortgage Lender

Julie Augedahl has joined Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove as a mortgage lender, according to Matt Schuldt, Market President for Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove.

“Julie is coming back to work in her hometown, and I think that’s something we’re all excited about,” Schuldt said. “Her knowledge as a Caledonia native, and her passion for building community will help make her an outstanding mortgage lender.”

With nearly 10 years of experience in personal banking and lending in Wisconsin and Minnesota, Augedahl said she’s looking forward to helping area residents through the mortgage process from start to finish.

“I think it’s important for my customers that I know them, and if I don’t know them, I may know their families. It’s a great place to start a long-term banking relationship,” Augedahl said. “I’m very excited to put my service-first attitude to work for everyone who calls this area home.”

Augedahl volunteers for the Caledonia Founders Day Committee and in the past has volunteered as a volleyball coach for the Caledonia High School varsity and junior varsity teams. Augedahl has a General Education degree from Rochester Community College and Business Management Degree from Winona Technical College.

Augedahl lives in Caledonia with her husband, Kyle, their 3-year-old son, Grayson, and 1-year-old daughter, Vienna.

Susan Clark is Now a Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank

 

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Susan Clark, Mortgage Lender

Susan Clark is now helping customers in her role as Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank in Winona, according to Sue Hovell, Director of Retail Banking Performance.

“Given her background, knowledge of the Winona market and her desire to provide customers with guidance and walk them the mortgage process from start to finish, we know Susan is an important addition to our growing Winona mortgage team,” Hovell said.

Clark has been serving Merchants Bank customers in a number of roles since 2003 and has been a Winona resident for most of her life. Her background includes finance, lending, and bank compliance. She is certified as an American Bankers Association Residential Mortgage Lender.

“With the wide variety of home financing options available and what seems like a mountain of paperwork before you start, it can be intimidating to know where to begin,” Clark said. “I can help, and look forward to making the process as clear and stress-free as possible for our customers. I truly want to be there every step of the way.”

Clark points out that her experience as part of their family business allows her to understand the complexities self-employment can create when applying for a home mortgage. Clark volunteers her time throughout the community in support of area schools as well as many non-profit organizations.

Dawn Stenberg Becomes Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank

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Dawn Stenberg, Mortgage Lender

Dawn Stenberg has started as a mortgage lender at Merchants Bank, according to Sue Hovell, Director of Retail Banking Performance.

“We are excited to have Dawn as part of our team of lenders. She is well known and well respected in our market and fully understands the process that makes Merchants Bank stand out to all of its customers,”Hovell said. “We are looking forward to what she will bring to everyone she serves.”

Stenberg has worked as a mortgage lender previously, both with Wells Fargo in the Winona market, and the John O Melby Bank in Whitehall, WI. She has more than eight years of mortgage experience and more than 14 years of banking experience. Stenberg has been with the Merchants Bank organization since 2012, where she has worked both as a mortgage underwriter and a mortgage coordinator. She said that experience will be especially helpful in her new position.

“Understanding the industry guidelines and processes will be a benefit to customers in that I will be able to guide them so they get the mortgage product that best fits their needs. My goal is to make the experience as seamless as possible for customers,” Stenberg said. “There are a number of reasons Merchants Bank is the market leader, and I look forward to sharing those with customers.”

Learn more about mortgage loans at Merchants Bank by visiting our website.

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.”