Year starts off strong for Merchants

The parent company of Merchants Bank, which has an Eau Claire branch at 2728 Mall Drive, announced Thursday that its first quarter net income exceeded expectations, but was behind last year’s performance.

The $3.47 million net income was $442,818 ahead of where Merchants Financial Group had forecast for the first three months of the year, according to a company news release. However, it was behind 2018’s first quarter profit by $476,827, which was due in part to a necessary contribution of $240,000 in loan loss reserve to cushion against possible future loan stress, the company noted.

President and CEO Gregory Evans said the bank is on target for a strong year and he’s pleased with the financial results and progress on key strategic initiatives.

As a result of continued profitability, Merchants Financial’s board of directors authorized earlier this month a semiannual dividend of 70 cents per share to stockholders. Those who are shareholders of record as of May 17 will receive the dividend in June.

RBF hosts update breakfast on Tuesday

A business fund that serves seven west-central Wisconsin counties is hosting an informational breakfast on Tuesday in Eau Claire.

The Regional Business Fund will give an economic update on a government loan program during the breakfast as well as tell attendees about flexible funding options available for their businesses.

The breakfast will be 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Wild Ridge Golf Course, 3905 Kane Road.

A breakfast buffet will be provided and the cost to attend is $15.

Register online at tinyurl .com/y3x549df.

Counties included in the Regional Business Fund are Barron, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Polk and St. Croix.

No Computer Corner this week

The technology advice column written by Steve Alexander of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that usually appears in the Leader-Telegram’s Sunday Business section was not available this week.

When Alexander writes a new column, it will appear in an upcoming edition.

From staff reports