Company: First Bankers Trust Services
Title: Senior Vice President, Fiduciary Advisory Group
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Employee Benefits for ESOP CompaniesMerri Ash is vice president of First Bankers Trust Services. Merri has more than 34 years experience in employee benefits services. Her past work experience includes work as a senior trust officer wit... Read the blog post >
First Bankers Trust Helps Town Refinance BondFirst Bankers Trust Helps Town Refinance Bond First Bankers Trust is based in Quincy City, Illinois, and recently helped the city save a significant sum by refinancing a construction loan that city... Read the blog post >
Howard has more than 25 years in the trust banking industry, where he developed a concentrated expertise in institutional trustee services for employee stock ownership and qualified retirement plans. Prior to joining First Bankers, he served in a similar capacity at Reliance Trust Company for 14 years. He is a member of The ESOP Association Legislative and Regulatory Committee and served on the Interdisciplinary Committee for Fiduciary Issues. He is also a member of Employee Owned S‐Corporation of America (ESCA), the National Center for Employee Ownership, and frequently speaks on trustee and fiduciary topics.
- Buying and selling of plan assets
- Ensuring that the ESOP loan terms are reasonable and coordinating the scheduled debt service payments
- Hiring the plan advisors and evaluating their opinions
- Voting and/or accepting direction to vote shares of company stock for shareholder meetings
- Monitoring the ESOP’s compliance with the plan and loan documents, trusts, and all applicable laws and regulations
- Evaluating ESOP transactions independently
- Accepting employer contributions and collecting income on plan assets
- Completing participant distributions and providing all the required tax reporting documents to retirees and terminated employees
- Providing statements to all necessary parties in a timely matter
Linda Morano, CFO, Barr and Barr
Merri Ash is extremely easy to work with and very knowledgeable about ESOPs, working with her gives us a great sense of comfort. We have about 130 employees at several locations, and every year, she meets with them to give a progress report. She really puts a personal touch on the process and gives employees a sense of ownership and involvement.
Steve Landry, President, Cox & Company, Inc.
Merri is a very dynamic individual and proactive in dealings. When our company became a 100% ESOP-owned sub-S corporation in 2004, she was instrumental during the transition. She is an absolute expert in the field of ESOPs, which she has demonstrated repeatedly from the first transaction to the present day. I use her as a sounding board for all ESOP-related questions. She has extensive contacts and relationships in the ESOP community, including legal experts, company valuation advisors and many more. She always takes a personal approach to her accounts. Recently, I had questions about company governance, and she made time to meet me for lunch and made valuable recommendations. Highly recommended to anyone involved in ESOP.
Jim Mauer, CFO, Sechan Electronics
I rate Merri 5 out of 5, but she's really a 12. She's been absolutely outstanding for us, she understands the ESOP environment like few other trustees. She has long-term experience, over 20 years' worth, and a lot of valuable insight on how the ESOP community has changed over the years. Her technical knowledge is superior, and she gives herself unwaveringly to ESOPs. She's always there when we need her, and is a straight shooter who'll always give you the unvarnished truth. The way she has interacted with our board is clear and straightforward. On Day One, when we went to 100% ESOP ownership, she did a presentation to our employees in person, and helped foster the confidence that employees needed during the transition. This made such an impression on me that I still remember the exact date that this happened. She's the best of the best.