Shelly Zimmerman Joins Merchants Bank as Mortgage Lender

Shelly Zimmerman, Mortgage Lender

Shelly Zimmerman has joined Merchants Bank as a Mortgage Lender, according to Jon Dahl, President for Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls.

“Shelly’s tenure in mortgage lending and banking, along with her deep connection to the Cannon Falls community, make her an exceptional mortgage lender. I know she takes great pride in helping her friends and neighbors realize their dreams of home ownership,” said Dahl.

Zimmerman has been in banking for nearly 25 years in Cannon Falls and the Southern Metro area. For the last 15 years, she has been a Real Estate Loan Officer with First Farmers & Merchants Bank. With the majority of her career spent in the mortgage lending area, she is familiar with both traditional and specialized mortgage loan programs.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to help people through the mortgage process and making something that may seem daunting as easy as possible for my customers. It’s my goal to provide an exceptional experience to every home buyer or builder,” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is a lifelong Cannon Falls resident. She and her husband, John, have four children and four grandchildren and they enjoy spending time with their family, camping and motorcycling.

The Merchants Bank Mortgage team is comprised of nearly 20 local mortgage lenders, available throughout our regional footprint, backed by our in-house mortgage processing, underwriting and loan servicing teams. In addition to traditional mortgage loans, Merchants mortgage lenders can assist with mortgage pre-approval, construction loans, and specialized mortgage programs such as VA, FHA, Rural Development and more available through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’re committed to being there for our customers after loan closing and service nearly $2.6 billion in mortgage loans annually.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.5 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875.

Nicole Williamson, Merchants Bank Mortgage Lender, Now Serving Lanesboro & Rushford

Nicole Williamson, Mortgage Lender

Merchants Bank Mortgage Lender, Nicole Williamson, is now serving the Bank’s Lanesboro and Rushford locations, helping clients who are interested in home buying, building or refinancing.

Williamson will be serving these new markets in addition to Rochester, where she has been a Mortgage Lender for Merchants Bank since 2019. She has more than 10 years of experience in mortgage lending and banking and is a Chatfield, MN native.

“Helping people fulfill their dreams of owning or building a home is the best part of my job,” said Williamson. “I’m proud to be able to offer one of the best construction rates in the area for home builders and look forward to being a resource for customers in the Lanesboro and Rushford areas.”

The Merchants Bank Mortgage team is comprised of 20 local lenders available throughout our regional footprint and more than 50 support staff. Merchants’ Mortgage Lenders understand the variety of traditional mortgage and specialty programs available today, as well as construction loan options, and can assess which make the most sense for an individual situation.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank has more than $2.5 billion in assets and was founded in 1875.

Tim Vukelich Joins Merchants Bank as Mortgage Lender

Tim Vukelich, Mortgage Lender

Tim Vukelich has joined Merchants Bank as a Mortgage Lender, according to Dan Vlasak, President for Merchants Bank in Lakeville.

“Tim’s extensive background in mortgage lending will help him expertly guide our customers through the loan process. We know many people are interested in building, purchasing or mortgage refinancing right now and want to do our part to make the process easy,” said Vlasak.

Vukelich has been in banking for nearly 20 years in the Twin Cities market and was most recently a Senior Loan Officer for PNC Bank. With the majority of his career spent in the mortgage lending area, he is familiar with both traditional and specialized mortgage loan programs.

“I enjoy assisting customers in achieving their mortgage goals and meeting their mortgage needs. I take great pride in providing excellent customer service to create a great experience throughout the mortgage process,” said Vukelich.

Vukelich grew up in Duluth and has lived in Rosemount for nearly 10 years. He enjoys working out, live sports and going to concerts. He is looking forward to becoming more active in the Rosemount community through volunteer and networking efforts.

The Merchants Bank Mortgage team is comprised of nearly 20 local mortgage lenders, available throughout our regional footprint, backed by our in-house mortgage processing, underwriting and loan servicing teams. In addition to traditional mortgage loans, Merchants mortgage lenders can assist with mortgage pre-approval, construction loans, and specialized mortgage programs such as VA, FHA, Rural Development and more available through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’re committed to being there for our customers after loan closing and service nearly $2.6 billion in mortgage loans annually.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.5 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to credit approval.

Nicole Williamson Joins Merchants Bank as Mortgage Lender

Nicole Williamson, Mortgage Lender

Nicole Williamson has joined Merchants Bank as a Mortgage Lender, according to Dave Engstler, Branch Manager for Merchants’ Rochester-Green Meadows location.

“Nicole brings valuable experience to our team that will be a benefit to families and individuals across the Rochester area looking for their first or next home,” said Engstler. “With mortgage and refinance rates incredibly low, now is a great time to give Nicole a call.”

Williamson has been in banking for more than 10 years in the Rochester market in various customer service positions, including Mortgage Advisor for the last six years. She is well-versed in the home and construction loan process as well as Minnesota-specific loan program options.

“I joined Merchants because of their community focus and the pride they take in being a partner for their customer’s financial well-being. I am passionate about helping customers achieve their homeownership dreams and find homes where they can grow and make memories,” said Williamson.

Williamson grew up locally in Chatfield, MN and currently resides in St. Charles with her husband, Kyle, and two daughters. She attended Saint Mary’s University in Winona with a double major in Marketing and Management with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship. Outside of work, she and her family enjoy spending time on the water boating and fishing and at their family cabin in Northern Minnesota.

The Merchants Bank Mortgage team is comprised of nearly 20 local mortgage lenders, available throughout our regional footprint, backed by our in-house mortgage processing, underwriting and loan servicing teams. In addition to traditional mortgage loans, Merchants mortgage lenders can assist with mortgage pre-approval, construction loans, and specialized mortgage programs such as VA, FHA, Rural Development and more available through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’re committed to being there for our customers after loan closing and service nearly $2.6 billion in mortgage loans annually.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.1 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875.

Andrew Althoff Promoted to Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank

Andrew (Andy) Althoff has been promoted to Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank in Northfield, according to Tim Viere, Northfield Regional President. Andrew replaces Becky Behrens, who is retiring on July 31 after 39 years serving mortgage customers in Northfield.

“We’re excited to have Andrew’s mortgage expertise on staff. His background in mortgage processing means he knows exactly what is needed to process a mortgage application and that will translate into meaningful conversations with potential homebuyers upfront,” said Viere.

Althoff has been with Merchants Bank since 2014 as a Credit Operations Representative and most recently a Mortgage Loan Processor. He has been working as part of the Northfield team since Merchants Bank closed on the sale of the First National Bank of Northfield in August 2019 and has enjoyed learning from Becky in that time. Althoff is from the Cannon Falls area and graduated from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

“I look forward to serving the people of Northfield and helping them realize their dreams of home ownership. I am determined to make the process of home buying and refinancing as seamless as possible,” said Althoff.

The Merchants Bank Mortgage team is comprised of nearly 20 local mortgage lenders, available throughout our regional footprint, backed by our in-house mortgage processing, underwriting and loan servicing teams. In addition to traditional mortgage loans, Merchants mortgage lenders can assist with mortgage pre-approval, construction loans, and specialized mortgage programs such as VA, FHA, Rural Development and more available through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’re committed to being there for our customers after loan closing and service nearly $2.6 billion in mortgage loans annually.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.1 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to credit approval.

Be Aware, Be Skeptical About Mortgage Offers

Couple confused about finances

Financing your home is an important event. It opens the door to many new experiences, including unsolicited offers. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable, but you need to be aware and be skeptical so you can make the best decisions.

Where do these offers come from?

During the mortgage process, your information:

  • Is available to companies that buy or purchase lists from a credit bureau
  • Becomes part of the public record once it is recorded and can be accessed by companies searching for information

What type of information could you receive from outside sources?

Some of the information you receive by call, mail or email will likely be legitimate, and some will not.

You may receive offers for things like life insurance, offers to provide the financing or refinancing, or offers to provide copies of your records. Whatever it is, we ask that you look at the offer closely.

If you have any questions about any information or solicitations that you receive, please feel free to contact us by calling your local Merchants Bank branch. We will help you understand the information so you can make your best decision.

Please know that we would never sell your information. So, if you receive something saying the contact is sanctioned by Merchants Bank, it isn’t. Be skeptical.

*Loans are subject to credit approval.

Adrian A. Quilling Promoted To Mortgage Lender

Adrian Quilling, Mortgage Lender

Adrian A. Quilling has been promoted to Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank in Rosemount, according to Michelle Selig, Branch Manager.

“Adrian already has a background in home loans and loves helping our customers, especially during important life stages. His new role as a Mortgage Lender will be a great fit for him and a benefit to those looking to buy or build homes in the Rosemount area,” said Selig.

Quilling has been with Merchants Bank since 2018 when he started as a Customer Service Representative and Lending Assistant. Prior to joining Merchants, he was a Universal Banker at Old National Bank (formerly Anchor Bank) and has experience in personal banking and lending, including deposit accounts, mortgages and personal loans.

“I’m excited to now be a complete financial partner for individuals and families – whether it’s showing them the right tools and accounts to meet personal savings goals or guiding them through the home loan process,” said Quilling.

You can get to know more about Quilling on the Merchants Bank website by visiting http://www.merchantsbank.com/aquilling.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 21 bank locations and one loan production office in southeastern Minnesota and two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank has more than $2 billion in assets and was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to credit approval.

 

3 Big Benefits to Buying a House Off-Season

Buyingintheoffseason

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you should put off searching for the perfect house. In fact, now may be one of the best times to buy. Really. Here are three reasons why buying your house in the off-season (November-March) may bring you big benefits.

House Sellers are Motivated

Many homeowners are eager to finalize a house sale now, saving them from the work of winter home maintenance – think shoveling, heat bills for house showings and more. The burden of keeping a house on the market can be even more pressing for sellers who have relocated or retired.

If you’ve found a home you’d like to put an offer on, dealing with a motivated seller can work to your advantage. In the off-season, sellers may be more willing to negotiate:

  • The price of the home
  • Closing costs or closing date
  • Terms of the sale, including things like household appliances or other items

Fewer Buyers in Competition

Generally, when the housing market slows down each winter fewer houses are for sale and buyers become less interested in shopping. Use this to your benefit.

Less competition from fellow buyers means:

  • Fewer competing offers when you find a house you’re interested in.
  • More leverage during negotiations with sellers since they aren’t picking from a slew of buyers.

Potential Savings

The first two benefits on our list can add up to potential savings. Motivated sellers who aren’t juggling multiple offers may lower the asking price or throw in other perks for a qualified buyer.

Take for example the median home prices for Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to their respective Realtor Associations:

  • Minnesota – Median home price for homes sold in January 2018 was $219,000 compared to $244,745 for July, which is a cost difference of more than $25,000. For the past three years, the difference in median home price between these two months falls between $25,000-$30,000.
  • Wisconsin – Median home price for homes sold in January 2018 was $169,000 compared to $195,000 for July, which is a cost difference of more than $25,000. For the past three years, the difference in median home price between these two months falls between $25,000-$28,000.

Bonus Benefit: This time of the year is slower for many businesses, including moving companies. If you’re looking to hire movers, it should be easier to coordinate compared to the busy summer months.

Give sellers no reason to hesitate when you place your offer by being pre-approved for a mortgage. It’s an easy step to take to show sellers you’re serious and get an accurate picture of what you can afford.

To learn more about pre-approval, contact a local Merchants Bank Mortgage Lender today to get your questions answered and schedule an appointment.

Sources: Minnesota Realtor Association and Wisconsin Realtor Association

Loans are subject to approval.

 

 

 

Mortgage Lender Dawn Garms Promoted to Assistant Vice President at Merchants Bank in Onalaska

Dawn Garms, Mortgage Lender

Mortgage Lender Dawn Garms has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, according to Steve Christiansen, Merchants Bank President in Onalaska and La Crescent.

“Dawn’s people first attitude has helped her customers get into the homes that are right for them,” Christiansen said. “She does everything she can for her customers, and that has helped Dawn be successful.”

Garms joined Merchants in 2013, after spending a dozen years with another organization serving customers. She has consistently been one of the top mortgage lenders in the Merchants organization, building a broad referral network and consistently receiving high marks from her customers for her service to them.

“I know that buying a home can be stressful, and there are so many things for someone to think about. My goal is to take care of my customers from the start of the process to beyond the end of it,” Garms said. “If they have a question, I am there with the answer.”

Garms is an active member of the La Crosse Area Builders Association, La Crosse Area Realtors Association and La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce, where she serves as an Ambassador. She is a graduate of Northern Iowa University, where she majored in Finance and minored in Real Estate.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including its location in Onalaska. Minnesota locations include La Crescent, Winona, St. Charles, 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. Loans are subject to approval. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Meet Tina Mueller, Mortgage Lender and Home Loan Expert

Tina MuellerGet to know Tina Mueller, Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank in Onalaska.When did you start your banking career?

Tina: I started in 1992, and I came to Merchants Bank in Onalaska in 2005. I’ve been a personal banker, consumer loan officer, branch manager and of course a mortgage lender. I have always worked for a community bank; I believe in local decision making as key decisions are made locally by people who live and work in the community.

What is your best banking tip?

Tina: The best thing people can do is develop a good credit rating. Be diligent about spending and make your monthly payments on time. Having a major credit card from your local bank is a great way to establish credit and paying off the balance in full each month is a good way to develop a credit rating. It is important to maintain a good credit rating to have a chance at obtaining the best rates possible on loans when they go to make a major purchase like a car or a home.

My coworkers have put together a great video series on building a good credit rating: Watch here.

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

Tina: One thing my parents taught me about money is how to save, which was huge. My first job was when I was in high school and the rule was if I was going to work, half of my pay check had to go into a savings account. I was amazed at a young age at how quickly funds would add up in a savings account. Paying yourself first and establishing a savings pattern builds discipline and good financial habits. Building savings also provides a sense of financial security and builds wealth.

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

Tina: That’s easy! I would buy a tiny place on the beach which I would share with family. I love relaxing by water and being in the sun. There is nothing better than the sound of waves crashing, birds chirping and the warm breeze blowing.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Tina: The Green Bay Packers – Go Pack Go!

Picture your dream home. What is your favorite room and why?

Tina: My favorite room in the house is the great room. A place where the whole family can hang out together. Whether we are kicking back and enjoying great conversations, or maybe watching a Packer game while grabbing something to eat. This is the room we tend to gather in. Big windows with a nice view would make it even better.