Citizens State Bank of Loyal is pleased to announce the addition of Tony Hein as vice president, ag & commercial loan officer. Hein began his new role on Nov. 23, 2020, and will administer loan accounts for the Neillsville area, as well as support loan development and management efforts. Hein is a seasoned professional who brings years of experience in establishing new customer relationships.

As a loan officer, Hein will work closely with customers and fellow loan officers within CSB to develop relationships and recommend loans based on the specific needs of each customer. His experience and dedication to customers make him the perfect complement to CSB’s progressive lending focus.

Hein resides in Bloomer. He is an active member of the Blackhawk Education Foundation and Bloomer IDC. He looks forward to being active in the communities that CSB serves.

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By, Alex Paniagua

Associated Banc-Corp today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Andrew J. Harmening as the Company’s president and chief executive officer and a member of its Board of Directors, effective April 28, 2021. Harmening will also serve as president and chief executive officer of Associated Bank, N.A. and president of Associated Trust, N.A. Harmening was most recently senior executive vice president, consumer and business banking of Huntington Bank.

Jay Williams, chairman of Associated’s Board of Directors, said, “We are delighted to welcome Andy Harmening to Associated as our new president and CEO, and to our Board as a director. Andy is a highly regarded banking leader with a track record of driving profitable growth and operational excellence, improving customers’ experience and spearheading innovative digital products. With more than 25 years as a consumer, small business and commercial banker, he brings valuable expertise in digital transformation that will help drive Associated’s profitable growth trajectory.”

At Huntington, Harmening led the bank’s digital and omni-channel strategy, which transformed its sales and service experience and earned industry-wide recognition for customer satisfaction. Earlier, Harmening served as vice chairman of the consumer banking division of Bank of the West. He also spent nine years with U.S. Bank in several roles of increasing responsibility within its small business and commercial banking divisions. He began his career as a branch manager at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Commenting on his appointment, Harmening said, “I am honored to become the president and CEO of this outstanding financial institution at a time when customer focus and nimble, digitally enabled execution has never been more important. Phil and the entire Associated team have laid the groundwork for a strong path forward, and I look forward to working with Phil to ensure a smooth transition and to accelerate Associated’s progress.”

In January, Associated announced that president and CEO Philip B. Flynn informed the Board of his plans to retire from the company at the end of 2021. Flynn will continue as president and CEO until Harmening assumes these positions, at which time he will step down from both roles and from the Board of Directors. Flynn will then be available to Harmening in an advisory capacity and serve as an ambassador for the bank.

“On behalf of Associated’s Board and colleagues, we thank Phil for his steady leadership since becoming president and CEO nearly 12 years ago. Phil guided Associated through the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic while growing our franchise and implementing a strong customer-focused strategy. We are grateful for his many contributions,” Williams said.

Flynn said, “I am proud of the progress the Associated team has made as we pursued our vision of becoming one of the Midwest’s premier financial institutions. I look forward to working with Andy as he prepares to take the reins at Associated, and to serving in an advisory capacity to support the company’s continued success.”

Harmening serves on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Bankers Association. He earned a bachelor’s degree from DePauw University and an MBA from the University of Cincinnati.

By, Ally Bates

A championship culture is not developed within your bank overnight. Finding what works best for your bank takes hard work and dedication. The keynote speech “Creating a Championship Culture Within Your Organization” delivered by Dr. Fred Johnson on the final day of the 2021 Bank Executives Conference set out to explain how much impact culture truly has in our industry.  

Having worked with a range of Super Bowl teams, Johnson certainly carries an impressive insight to NFL champion mindsets. Still, I was intrigued to find out how he might tie this world together with the banking industry. To compare the strategies of your bank with those of an NFL team seems at first to be an odd consideration, but as Johnson puts it, the parallels are hard to miss.  

The championship teams stress chemistry above talent. They are not structured by the best players or collective of coaches. They are the ones that have players committed to everyone else’s success, beyond just the task at hand. As Johnson said, “It’s not just the plays; it’s the people.” 

The same is true at your bank where culture is the backbone of your operations. It indicates how comfortable each team member feels to be their best self and contribute their strengths in a way they know will be appreciated. A strong culture will be apparent to your customers as well. It will create an environment where they will want to do business.  

Looking forward to the rest of 2021, I anticipate more banks will continue developing and strengthening their culture, as it is not a one-size-fits-all situation. It must be carefully considered to accommodate each of your team’s players. At our bank we work to hire employees to fit our culture. Additionally, we believe prioritizing our employees’ well-being is critical. So, as we begin to end this year’s first quarter, we make certain to keep checking in on our employees and coworkers, being genuine in the face of change, and being honest in moments of uncertainty.  

Most importantly, remember that no one has their culture perfected. Assuring everyone feels respected, comfortable, and valued is not a competition, and there is no Super Bowl for the complexity of these plans. Even so, both require strategy, willingness, and endless dedication to making your team the best it can be. Johnson made it clear that building a championship culture is not about winning – it’s about how your team plays the game.  

By, Alex Paniagua

Bankers’ Bank is excited to welcome Elliot Klim as investment representative. In his role, he will help banks manage their investment portfolios. Klim is a recent University of Wisconsin – Whitewater graduate with a degree in finance. He currently holds his Series 52 license. After a successful collegiate football career, Klim now enjoys an array of outdoor activities like fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping. Klim looks forward to helping community banks with their investment needs.

Bankers’ Bank SVP – Investments Sam Devine expressed excitement in the recent hire, saying “We are thrilled to have Elliot join the Investment Department. He is an excellent addition to the sales and trading team and will do a great job assisting community banks with their investment portfolios.”

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By, Alex Paniagua

Ken Thompson, president and CEO of Capitol Bank, Madison, announced the promotions of Brenda Homeister to assistant vice president of loan documentation and Paige Janquart to controller.

Homeister joined Capitol Bank in 2016, with experience in all areas of loan operations and credit administration. Her work in handling complex loan transactions and PPP loan documentation continues to be impactful to employees and customers.

Janquart’s work has been vital to the financial operations of Capitol Bank and Capitol Bankshares, Inc. since 2014. Her impact and improvements have been recognized by the Bank’s employees and shareholders.

Homeister is involved with LPGA Amateur Golf Association of Madison and is a committee member for the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund annual golf outing fundraiser. Janquart is a member of the National Charity League and also serves on the Capitol Bank Cares Committee, which oversees the Bank’s philanthropic endeavors within the community. 

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By, Alex Paniagua

Starion Bank has named Don Morgan CEO-elect. Morgan will also remain president, a position he has had with the bank for just over a year. Craig Larson will remain CEO and chairman of the board. With the additional responsibilities of CEO-elect, Morgan will focus more on the overall strategy and vision for the bank, in addition to his current management of the day-to-day operations for Starion Bank.

Morgan, a certified public accountant, has been with Starion since 2012 when he joined the bank as vice president for credit administration. The next year he was promoted to chief credit officer. In 2014, he became a member of Starion’s Executive Committee which is responsible for initiating key actions within the organization, reviewing financial data, and setting major project priorities. Morgan was most recently promoted to president of Starion Bank in January 2020.

“Don has been instrumental in many transformative initiatives in his time at Starion. With this new role he will continue to focus on exceeding the expectations of our customers and continued support of our communities,” explained Larson. “As a family-owned business, the most important ingredients for success are passion and dedication, two of Don’s most admirable qualities.”

In this new role, Morgan will have a more active role in the strategic positioning of the bank and its continued growth as he guides and develops Starion’s high-performance leadership teams. Morgan focuses on all operational aspects of the bank and building relationships with customers in all the communities Starion serves. He is based out of corporate headquarters in Bismarck, N.D.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity and excited to serve Starion Bank in this new role,” explained Morgan. “We will continue to be leaders in financial innovation to better serve our clients, the same way we have for over 50 years. As advisors, we are literally by their side helping to strengthen their financial futures. I am proud to be a part of a  bank that values our customers and being stalwart supporters of the communities we all live in. “

Morgan has extensive banking and leadership experience, which includes 20 years of credit administration, commercial lending, market president, and internal auditing. A Wyoming native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance with an accounting minor from the University of Wyoming and a master’s in accounting from the University of Phoenix. Morgan enjoys serving on the boards of local community groups and is a guest partner for the Soil Conservation District and the North Dakota Grazing Coalition to promote holistic agricultural management. 

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By, Alex Paniagua

By Rose Oswald Poels

The financial services industry is one that is full of leaders, innovators, and dedicated professionals. As the snow begins to melt and March offers a glimpse beyond winter, I’m particularly reminded as I think about Women’s History Month of the legacies left by the many women who have offered visions of change to the way that we operate today.

One such notable woman is Maggie L. Walker. During a time that severely limited the progress of Black individuals and preceded the women’s suffrage movement, Maggie Walker challenged economic discrimination based on race and gender by working with the Independent Order of St. Luke (IOSL) to provide insurance, finance, and commerce to underrepresented communities. She was quickly noticed for her leadership qualities and became the first woman to own a bank in 1903. Please consider learning more about her life and legacy by viewing her online museum here.

We are fortunate to continue witnessing many achievements in the banking industry notably increasing our representation of women in executive positions. The number of women on corporate boards has also doubled in the past two decades. We are encouraging the ability to lead and the power to change, not just for women, but for all underrepresented groups.

The leading members in this industry have helped push us further toward equality. Change is leading to progress, and this progress is gaining momentum. A key part of this success will be the active involvement of bankers looking to make a difference in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and for this I look to the 5 core areas WBA will focus on to provide value to and for the industry: governance, communications, education, associate members, and talent attraction.

Women’s History Month creates an opportunity to reflect, learn, and act beyond just the month of March. WBA is proud to highlight and expand on this initiative through our projects and programs, including a new series on women in banking being developed to empower our current and future women leaders in financial services. This Empowering Women in Banking Virtual Summit will be held virtually on May 11, 18, and 25. Click here to find more information and sign up for these 3 interactive sessions to empower and celebrate women bankers. I look forward to working with our DEI group in determining how we can best expand on this progress, and I am honored to be a part of an industry that understands the importance of growing inclusivity and representation in our communities.

On the heels of celebrating 20 years in business in 2020, Oak Bank continues to grow with its clients, announcing two career advancements among associates and a new team member to kick off 2021. 

Amber Lehnherr, previously Oak Bank’s cash management specialist, has been promoted to AVP – deposit operations manager. In her new role, Lehnherr’s responsibilities include analyzing deposit operations systems and functions to maintain peak performance utilizing ever-changing technology. 

Stephanie East, previously a personal banker at Oak Bank, will take over as cash management specialist. East will be responsible for managing a portfolio of not-for-profit and deposit-oriented business clients while also helping them navigate the many electronic services Oak Bank offers clients. 

The promotions of Lehnherr and East highlight Oak Bank’s commitment to professional development, embracing each person’s journey and helping them achieve their goals. 

“Promoting and growing from within has always been an integral part of our mission,” said Terry Taylor, Oak Bank president. “We are grateful to have so many talented individuals in the Oak Bank family!” 

Oak Bank also welcomes to the family Carri Case who brings strong communication talents to the team as a client service representative. 

“Carri brings energy, enthusiasm, and a fresh perspective to our client services area and we are thrilled that she has joined our team,” said Taylor. “We will continue working diligently to support our clients in this unique and challenging environment.” 

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By, Alex Paniagua

One Community Bank promotes Heather Tyler to Vice President Marketing. Tyler will manage bank marketing operations, assessing and improving existing initiatives, and devising new strategies to increase market share. 

“Heather has been an important member of the One Community Bank marketing team since 2017 and was previously the person directing the marketing for Oregon Community Bank. She has a terrific track record of executing on a large variety of marketing projects.” Stated Jeff Versluys, EVP & chief retail officer. “We are thrilled to have Heather leading the marketing team and supporting the continued growth of One Community Bank.” 

“The past few years with OCB have been very rewarding and I am excited to see what we can accomplish next,” said Tyler. “I look forward to expanding our ‘Feel Good Banking’ experience to the clients and communities we serve.”  

In her spare time, Tyler enjoys traveling with her husband and three daughters. She is actively involved as a board member for the Madison Needs Network. 

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By, Alex Paniagua

On Tuesday, March 2, the Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions held an informational hearing for an update on the status of Wisconsin’s financial industry. WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Capitol Bank President and CEO Ken Thompson were invited to speak on several key issues. Notable topics included:  COVID’s long-term impact on the economy, banks’ role in the execution of the Paycheck Protection Program, real estate and agricultural market outlooks, and the importance of passing elder fraud prevention legislation. 

Wisconsin DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld led off the hearing by noting that “Wisconsin’s Banks and Credit Unions answered the call and played a key role in state and federal relief efforts.” She remarked, Wisconsin’s state-chartered banks showed “good profitability, while maintaining strong capital positions with minimal asset quality problems.” An area of concern for DFI includes overall asset quality. While the PPP provided needed relief, the long-term impact of COVID to the economy is still unknown.” After several down years, Sec. Blumenfeld noted we still need to watch the ag sector despite recent improvement in commodity prices. “Wisconsin’s farmers still need a sustained period of improvement to truly recover from the last several years,” said Blumenfeld. 

DFI noted that current trends with commercial real estate are stable, but with the possibility of a more remote work environment in the future, commercial office space could be impacted. 

Oswald Poels led off WBA’s testimony by thanking legislators for their diligence on COVID-relief last session, and fast action on important tax conformity and liability protection policies enacted this session. She then highlighted banks’ role in both prior and during the PPP loan process, noting “Wisconsin banks stepped up and really punched above our weight class in making sure business owners got taken care of.” Before concluding, Oswald Poels covered some of the challenges facing the banking industry in Wisconsin, such as low merger and acquisition activity due to economic uncertainty, and the low interest rate environment. She stressed with legislators the importance of policies at the state and federal levels that support the community banking sector. 

Thompson stated that Wisconsin’s banks provided 87% of the PPP loans in the state and worked creatively with customers throughout the past year. “If there was ever a year that should convince you that community banking is needed in this state and in this country, this was the year. We are able to allow customers to defer loans and right now, collectively 15% of the commercial real estate loans are in deferral, but the position is improving.” Thompson noted that “people are being cautious and liquidity levels within the industry are very high which creates a great environment to make loans which will spur the economy.” 

Thompson and Oswald Poels requested the legislature take action during the hearing, such as the consideration of new tax policies that would allow certainty, efficiency, and lower costs for businesses and customers, creating agricultural policies that consider the unique perspective of both Wisconsin’s farmers and the banking industry, maintaining a consistent and predictable source of revenue for the state, and protecting our elderly by allowing all financial institutions to be able to place a pause on transactions.   

Banks remain the building blocks of communities by providing capital for consumers and businesses, revenue to the state, and value to the overall economy. You can watch the informational hearing in full by clicking here and creating a free WisconsinEye account.  

By, Alex Paniagua